As well as Croatia taking its turn as president of the EU Council for the next six months, the country is also celebrating one of its cities becoming the joint European Capital of Culture for 2020.
Rijeka on the Adriatic coast shares the honour this year with another port city, Galway in the Irish Republic.
The city is using the tagline “Port of Diversity" to emphasise its inclusiveness in a country that many consider very conservative.
Vojko Obersnel, the incumbent mayor, told Euronews’ Good Morning Europe that the city would use the opportunity to demonstrate this diversity and inclusiveness:
“The name of the whole project, The Port Of Diversity, is something which describes Rijeka as a modern and open-minded city, so we are giving the opportunity to a lot of citizens and to civil society to be a part of the whole European Capital project, so it’s not only a programme which has involved our institutions - like theatres and museums.
“A big part of the project is also produced directly by the citizens and their civil organisations. That’s very, very important because we want to show not only so-called institutional culture, but what our citizens prepared for this year.”
Obersnel admitted it was a challenge to be inclusive in a conservative nation:
“There’s a lot of differences between Croatia as a whole and Rijeka – this was already an open-minded city, accepting of all differences and we are very proud of that. We will use the Capital Of Culture title to show that way of life in Rijeka and its’ region, which is not always the same as the rest of Croatia.”