An Honorary Consulate of the Swiss Confederation for Istria and the Primorje-Gorski Kotar Region: the Consulate of Switzerland in Smoljanci
On Monday, June 15th, 2015, an honorary consulate of the Swiss Confederation for Istria and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County was officially opened in Smoljanci, a town in the vicinity of Svetvinčent, on the Istrian peninsula. Although the smallest of the 180 honorary consulates of the Swiss Confederation in the world, the location was strategically selected and will serve the Swiss citizens who live in the area, as well as Swiss tourists, whenever necessary. Its purpose is to support the Swiss in solving their issues, and to maintain a connection between local and state administrations, between the local Swiss community and the Swiss economy.
This is how the new Honorary Consul Draženka Moll, owner of Stancija 1904, an impressive rural tourism complex, voted the best Croatian ambassador of accessible tourism in Europe and the European Destination of Excellence for 2013, comments on her new role:
-Ties between Croatia and Switzerland are close and amicable. Switzerland has always backed Croatia, especially with regards to its path to independence. Membership in the European Union has made Croatia an even more interesting Swiss partner. That is why we have decided to improve this working relationship, which is based primarily on building good rapport between people, said Stefan Estermann, Swiss Ambassador to the Republic of Croatia.
Switzerland has a strong and very active Croatian community, numbering about 30,000 people, while Croatia has a somewhat smaller, but just as active Swiss community.
Tourism is another factor that ties the two countries together. Some 220,000 Swiss tourists visited Croatia last year alone, mostly Istria, Primorje-Gorski Kotar County. Swiss tourists look for quality, and they can definitely find it here. Stancija is the best example.
Estermann pointed out that he was looking forward to working with the new honorary consul, and asked everyone in attendance to support her in her new duties. Draženka Moll has promised that she will faithfully and earnestly carry out her four-year mandate.
The Istrian County Prefect Valter Flego said: Croatia no longer has the smallest town in the world (Hum); from now on, it also has the smallest consulate in the world – in Smoljanci.
Erik Fabijanić, President of the Assembly of Primorje-Gorski Kotar County, pointed out that the decision to open their consulate in Smoljanci brought Switzerland to a multicultural and multilingual area. – I can proudly say we are a little Switzerland.
In Pula, Damir Sirotić of the Croatian Chamber of Economy spoke of the values that the opening of the consulate would bring to the area; above all, this will strengthen the economic ties between the two countries, and create new bridges and new opportunities for everyone who wants to work together and develop partnerships. – Anyone who knows Ms. Moll is certain that she will carry out her new duties in the best possible way, and those who have not yet had an opportunity to meet her should visit the paradise in Smoljanci, and see how much she has contributed to the development of the area – something this small town in central Istria has never seen before.
The opening ceremony of the Consulate of the Swiss Confederation for Istria, and Primorje-Gorski Kotar County in Smoljanci was blessed by Pastor Darko Zgrabljić from the Svetvinčent Parish.
– Diplomacy and diplomats are special people. Not the ones with fake smiles, but the ones with open hearts. They should be carefully selected because diplomats are those who go somewhere in someone’s name; they represent someone, and it is not irrelevant who represents you. That is why I am glad to see those who openly carry out their duties, and who believe their most important task is connecting people.
Draženka Moll has been doing exactly that for years. The newly-appointed honorary consul has always had favourable contact with the Swiss Embassy in Zagreb and all of its ambassadors. They have continually and mutually helped each other whenever needed, so it is not surprising that she was recommended to be the Honorary Consul of the Swiss Confederation by the former Swiss Ambassador to Croatia, currently serving as the Ambassador to Sofia in Bulgaria – Mr. Denis Knobel. Draženka Moll lived in Switzerland for many years where she was very active in the Croatian community. In 1998, she decided to return to her homeland with her husband. She found her home in Smoljanci. She accepted this nomination because, as she says, those who need it, will get a bed, a piece of bread and a glass of wine with the consulate’s help. – Nobody will be left unattended in front of our doors, Moll pointed out.
Therefore, for the next four years, the post called the Ambassador of Istrian Tourism will be fulfilled by the Honorary Consul Draženka Moll, who shows by example that returning to the homeland can indeed be a return to paradise.