"Some countries have less, some more meaning to us personally. Some are just stop-overs in the career while some others leave permanent marks upon us and remain unforgettable. Croatia for me belongs to the second category."
In addition to celebrating 100-year-old Finland, year 2017 also marks another milestone: 25 years of Finnish-Croatian diplomatic relations. Finland was among the first ones to recognize Croatia's independence on January 17, 1992 and diplomatic relations between the two countries were established on February 19, 1992.
25 years of good relations were celebrated in March in Helsinki. Pertti Torstila, Finland's first Ambassador to Croatia in 1992-1996 was one of the prominent speakers in the event organized by the Croatian Embassy to Finland. Ambassador Torstila was accredited to Croatia from Budapest, since the Finnish Embassy in Zagreb was not opened until 1997.
Torstila is a long-term official of the Ministry for Foreign Affairs. His career extends over four decades and during that time the world has changed a lot. Over the course of his career Torstila has served as ambassador in various locations. He held the position of Secretary of State of the Ministry during the last eight years until his retirement in 2014. The same year Ambassador Torstila was nominated president for the Finnish Red Cross.
In his speech at the 25 year celebrations, Ambassador Torstila expressed his personal feelings from his time as the Ambassador of Finland to Croatia. He recounted how Croatia has since had a significant meaning to him and how he will always remember Croatia and his time there. Ambassador Torstila represented Finland in Croatia's EU membership celebrations in 2013, which was an opportunity for him to experience the new and renovated atmosphere of Croatia when the country took a historical step in the international arena.