chapter  3
International relations
Pages 24

Throughout her history, Croatia has been pulled in several conflicting directions in her international relations, due to an unresolved tension between her identity as both a central European and a Mediterranean country, as well as from her proximity to, and close historical connections with, the Balkan region. Historically, after the demise of the early mediaeval kingdom of Croatia, the country came within the orbit of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, firmly linked to the central European economic and cultural area. From 1918, however, Croatia was integrated into the kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later to become Yugoslavia, bringing Croatia far closer to the influence of the Balkan region than before, although never abandoning the central European cultural and economic influence and connections. For example, in the 1980s, the Socialist Republic of Croatia became a member of the Alpe-

Adria organization, whose aim was to foster cultural links between regions which had mainly previously formed part of the AustroHungarian Empire. When Croatia became an independent state in 1991, this dramatic event was the fulfilment of the efforts made over a long period of time towards self-determination, and vindicated those who had argued in favour of independence from both the central European legacy of Austria-Hungary and the Balkan legacy of Yugoslavia.