NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Monday arrived in Zagreb, where he met with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic.
“Croatia has been NATO’s reliable partner for nine years, our troops are in Kosovo and Afghanistan, they were also present in Poland and Lithuania. When it comes to spending on defence and sharing the costs, the spending was increased,” Plenkovic said, adding that Croatia had recently renewed its military by procuring multi-purpose fighter jets.
In March, the Croatian government unanimously adopted the decision on the procurement of 12 F-16 C/D Barak fighter jets from Israel.
“We discussed a series of issues between Croatia and NATO, but also the relations between southeast European countries. It is important that we analyse together the processes in our neighbourhood, in Macedonia, as well as the relations between Kosovo and Serbia, but also yesterday’s general election in Bosnia and Herzegovina,” Plenkovic said.
“Stoltenberg said he was glad he was visiting Croatia on the day the country observed Independence Day.
“We are grateful for Croatia’s important role in NATO, you contribute to our shared security, to our collective defence,” Stoltenberg said.
“After years of cutting defence spending in most NATO allied countries... all allies are moving in the right direction, but we still have a long way to go and I welcome the fact that you have enshrined in the law that you will meet the 2 percent target by 2024, the target of spending 2 percent of GDP on defence,” he said.
After meeting with the Prime Minister, the NATO Secretary General is scheduled to meet with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic later in the day.