After Croatia, along with some other NATO countries, was told by the US and NATO in Brussels in October to come up with a plan in six weeks on how to set aside 2 percent of its GDP for defence, Defence Minister Damir Krsticevic has told Vecernji List daily of Monday that an action plan has been drawn up.
Croatia will be in the green," he said.
Krsticevic and Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic are going to London for a NATO summit on December 3-4 and on that occasion they will undertake the commitment that Croatia will be able to set aside said 2 percent by 2024, when it is estimated that its annual defence budget will be 9.4 billion kuna.
Now Croatia spends about HRK 6.7 billion on defence, so a 40 percent increase must be achieved by 2024. According to NATO, Croatia must invest more in defence and a lot more in the equipment and modernisation of its army.
Although on paper, thanks to a new NATO methodology, Croatia now sets aside 1.68 percent of GDP on defence, this amount (6.7 billion kuna) includes veterans' pensions, which means that only 5 billion kuna is spent annually on the active army.
When salaries are added to the pensions, it turns out that Croatia spends 73 percent of its defence budget on personnel.
Consequently, much less is spent on equipment and modernisation which, Vecernji List reported.
(€1 = HRK 7.4)