Members of the Social Democratic Party,
Ladies and gentlemen,
The occasion for our gathering here is a sad one. We are here to pay our last respects to the deceased President of the Social Democratic Party of Croatia and Member of Parliament Ivica Račan. There are few people who were ready, like him, to take anything upon themselves, even the most difficult, the most awkward and the most dangerous. He showed this a myriad of times. This is a difficult moment for all of us. It is difficult for me to find words of consolation for the family and for you, his party colleagues.
Ivica Račan was a very brave man. He was a fighter, a visionary and a reformer. He was the driving force of the Croatian society. He wanted to create a democratic Croatia and bring it into Europe. Ivica Račan died, however his idea remains alive.
What remains? There are us, his family, his Party that will struggle to materialise everything that has been started. This is what we, at this moment, can do for Ivica to make him eternal and unforgettable.
We lost a man who all his life struggled for universal values, for human freedom, for justice and democracy. He always consistently saved face, the true, anti-fascist face of Croatia. Viewed by all this, Ivica Račan was a man, one of us, but a great man.
We lost a politician who found meaning of his life in politics; without him Croatian politics would not have been the same. There are few people in Croatian politics that were ready, like Ivica, to take anything upon themselves, and first the most difficult, the most awkward and the most dangerous things.
He showed this by making possible the introduction of a multi-party system in Croatia, he showed this in the Homeland War, he showed this during his time in opposition and in power democratising Croatia. Viewed by all this, Ivica Račan was a great politician.
We lost Ivica Račan the statesman because he was a statesman. His activities and the mark he left went beyond the national framework. He was a respected and esteemed interlocutor who always knew how to best represent Croatian interests but also respected the interests of others.
His visionariness, tranquility, consistence and responsibility, his special way of communicating will be cherished in our memory. If anyone was a symbol of democracy in Croatia and lived it with the whole of his being, then this was Ivica Račan. The SDP can be proud and honoured that Ivica Račan was your president.
You, your colleagues, friends and party sympathisers know best how great a man and politician you lost. Always bear in mind that democracy and Croatia were the causes Ivica Račan was at any moment ready to give anything for, his life too. This is what he left to you as well as all of us in Croatia as legacy.
May memory of Ivica Račan live on forever!