Croatia: Macron in Zagreb to boost cooperation on defense

Strategic partnership, 12 used Rafale jets bought

24 November, 17:30

    (ANSAmed) - ZAGREB, NOVEMBER 24 - French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday and Thursday will be in Zagreb, the first visit of a French president to Croatia since independence was reached in 1991, to boost French-Croatian relations, also ahead of France's rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, starting in mid-2022. Macron, awaited in Zagreb in the evening, will meet tomorrow with President Zoran Milanović and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković to then take part in a gala lunch to be attended by leading representatives of the world of politics, culture, sport and civil society of Croatia.

    Tomorrow Plenković and Macron will sign a statement of strategic partnership widening and strengthening a similar document already adopted in 2010, first as part of the European Defense Fund, as well as in the sector of tourism and culture.

    The two politicians will formalize the agreement to buy for 990 million euros 12 used multirole fighter jets F3F Rafale to renew the only Croatian military Air Force fleet, now comprising Migs 21, nearly all of which are out of use. After years of announcements on its intention to modernize its fleet of military aircraft, last May Zagreb decided to accept the French offer that also included the arming and training of pilots. The first six jets are scheduled for delivery in 2024. It is the most important investment in defense of the country since the independence war fought between 1991 and 1995, and after Croatia's adhesion to NATO in 2009.

    On the international front, especially on the European one, Croatia has great expectations for 2022, when Paris's weight on decisions taken by Brussels will be even more important. In fact, the Balkan country, a member of the EU since 2013, hopes for a final green light for entry into the border-free Schengen area, and then to adopt the euro, probably by January 2023.

    Zagreb tomorrow afternoon will travel from Zagreb to Rome.


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