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9th anniversary of NATO membership

Foto: M ORH/ J. Kopi
Foto: M ORH/ J. Kopi

The Croatian Parliament on 12 April  2018 hosted a ceremony marking the 9th anniversary of the entry oif the Republic of Croatia to NATO.

The ceremony was attended by the Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević and the Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, General Mirko Šundov, the Speaker of the Croatian Parliament Gordan Jandroković, the Defence and National Security Advisor to the President of the Republic  Vlado Galić, the Chairman  of NATO Science and Technology Board and Chief NATO Scientist  Thomas H. Killion, the Head of the Delegation of Croatian Parliament to NATO Parliamentary Assembly Miroslav Tuđman and senior officials.

The Speaker of the Parliament Gordan Jandroković recalled the speech of the first Croatian President Franjo Tuđman at the  constituent session of the Croatian Parliament, outlining  ten major tasks for Croatia among which the return to the European values and democratic societies – parliamentary democracy, the rule of law, market economy, protection of human rights, stability and security and integration into all relevant international organisations and associations (the UN, NATO and the EU).  “NATO and the EU operate according to the  values and guard and enhance the joint democratic heritage of the member countries. The Speaker also underlined that over the past nine years of  NATO membership Croatia was continuously confirming itself.

The Croatian Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević expressed his honour with attending the 9th anniversary of the entry of Croatia to NATO, the strongest military and political alliance in history, which “gave us the opportunity to discuss the crucial global issues on equal terms with other member nations, and secured the position in the international political, economic and geopolitical levels; in view of our recent and painful history  of the 1990ies the membership is even more valuable: Croatia won its freedom,  sovereignty and independence in the hardest of ways, paying with the lives of the defenders,  and the Minister took the opportunity to ask the visitors to pay tribute to them. 

"The war finished, the reorganisation and the development of a modern Croatian army went on“, said the Minister, who also underlined the many defence reforms undertaken to enter NATO and realising one of the two strategic foreign policy goals  of the time“. Achieved security and joining the developed economies Croatia approached the other goal – the EU membership“.

"In a 27-year period we turned from the recipients of international assistance to the providers of assistance in various international missions and operations worldwide. More than 500 membes of the Croatian Armed Forces will take part this year, mostly in NATO-led operations and missions. The significant Croatian contribution to NATO  was commended by the U.S. Secretary of Defence, who stated that Croatia was a small country fighting above its weight“, said Minister Krstičević, who also highlighted the steps undertaken in the development of the homeland  security system, ranging from adopted basic stratetgic documents, increased defence budget and ongoing equipment and modernisation projects, all focussed on responding to any threat or peril.

The Minister also emphasised that investments into science, education and new technologies was a priority with respect to the development of security system and highlighted the prospective reorganisation and integration of the Croatian Defence  Academy into the university community".

The Minister concluded by underlining the importance of security for progress and wellbeing
“Security is the main precondition for peaceful development of the society, particularly one that has a recent war history. I am glad that we are taking the way side by sidwe other Allies“.

The Chief of the General Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces General Mirko Šundov expressed pride over the past and present achievements of the Croatian Armed Forces as a NATO force and extended appreciation to all contributors. With respect to the changes within the global political and security environment, the Croatian Armed Forces need readiness and capability to respond efficiently to any challenges and threats, not only managing the effects but also preventing their onset.

The Croatian Armed Forces have become a recognisable part of NATO peace support operations, and their high interoperability crowns years of joint exercises and intensive co-operation focussed on building joint capabilities; they remain committed to proactive participation in NATO.

"The Republic of Croatia has recognised its future within NATO, and the members of the Croatian Armed Forces responsibly and professionally contribute to the common goals of the preservation of stability, peace and freedom. I am taking the opportunity to extend appreciation to all Croatian soldiers, NCOs and offcers for the committed service in operations, missions and activities of the Alliance“.

The Chairman  of NATO Science and Technology Board and Chief NATO Scientist  Thomas H. Killion underlined the importance of technology and technological development and  stated that Croatia albeit a young country.

Foto: MORH/ J. Kopi 

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