On January 15, 1992, the Republic of Croatia was recognized by 20 countries, all 12 members of the then European Community (France, Germany, Italy, Belgium, Netherlands, Luxembourg, United Kingdom, Denmark, Ireland, Greece, Spain, Portugal) and Austria, Canada, Bulgaria, Hungary, Poland, Malta, Norway and Switzerland. It was a turning point in the recognition process because it was suddenly done by a number of states. Therefore, January 15th is marked as a memorial day – the Day of International Recognition of the Republic of Croatia.
Of the generally recognized countries in the world, only Iceland (19.12.1991), Vatican City (13.1.1992) and San Marino (14.1.1992) recognized Croatia before that day. It should be noted that the first countries that recognized the Republic of Croatia in the autumn of 1991 were those countries that were not recognized internationally at the time – Slovenia, Lithuania, Ukraine, Latvia and Estonia.
By the end of January 1992, seven more countries had recognized Croatia – Finland, Romania, Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia. The first Asian and Islamic country, not counting Turkey, which recognized Croatia was Iran, while from African countries it was Egypt. Croatia was subsequently admitted to the United Nations on 22 May of the same year and has been recognized by Russia, Japan, the United States, Israel and China.
Recognition was welcomed by Croatia at the time of the Homeland War, when nearly a third of the country was occupied by the then JNA and Serbian rebels. It came to its internationally recognized borders only six years later, after the liberation actions of the Croatian army of Flash and Storm and the peaceful reintegration of eastern Slavonia and the Danube region.