The Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević on 15 April 2020 attended the extraordinary meeting of the North Atlantic Council in the defence ministers format, the first one held via video-conference.
The meeting was dedicated to the COVID – 19 crisis, and was chaired by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
The defence ministers discussed the ongoing COVID-19 crisis and the activities undertaken by NATO and the member nations to fight the pandemic NATO has implemented preventive measures since the outbreak of the crisis, ensured continued deterrence and defence and pledging support to each other and addressing the COVID-19 crisis.
In this regard the participants underlined the key role of the allied armed forces providing support to civilian institutions in dealing with the effects of the coronavirus pandemic, comprising logistics and planning, field hospitals and hospital ships, patient transportation, repatriation of citizens from abroad, and disinfection of public areas and border crossings.
They also addressed the abuse of the pandemic for spreading false and harmful information and concluded that the member nations needed working closer to identify and expose disinformation and continue the timely and transparent communication.
Minister Krstičević: I am sure we shall emerge from this global crisis stronger
The Minister also stressed that by introducing substantive measures in the early phase of the outbreak of COVID-19 Croatia managed to halt uncontrollable spread of the disease.“ I am convinced that we shall emerge from this crisis stronger“ said the Minister.
Minister Krstičević in his contribution presented Croatia’s experience and also addressed the recent devastating earthquake in Zagreb and the timely response by the Croatian Armed Forces in both emergencies, providing assistance to civilian institutions. The Minister underlined the setting of the expeditionary camp and the assistance with earthquake relief by the Croatian military, making available its personnel, military equipment and UAVs.
“We are an Alliance based on shared values. We are now faced with a common and most serious challenge. All our efforts are now focussed on combating the pandemic. We also need to evaluate its far-reaching effects on our societies“.
The Minister also stressed that by quickly implementing comprehensive measures at the outset of the COVID-19 outbreak, Croatia managed to halt the uncontrolled spread of the disease. “I am convinced that we shall emerge from this global crisis stronger”, concluded Minister Krstičević.