Croatia Marks Eight Years in NATO

By 4 April 2017

In April 2009, Croatia became a full member of NATO.

Croatian Parliament held a ceremony today to mark the eighth anniversary of the Croatian membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Eight years ago, on 25 March 2009, Croatian Parliament confirmed the instrument of accession to full membership in NATO, after all member states had ratified the accession protocol, reports Večernji List on April 4, 2017.

Head of the Delegation to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly Miroslav Tuđman said that on 1 April 2009 the current President of Croatia, and then Ambassador to the United States, Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović submitted to the State Department the document of the Croatian Parliament, which made Croatia a full member of NATO.

Croatia has participated for years in various NATO missions. “Unfortunately, in its economic and technological development, Croatia still must make more serious efforts to be more effective, because it should not be satisfied just with being among 30 percent of the most developed countries in the world. This in turn requires continuous investment in systems of national defence and security on the one hand, and participation in joint military missions, operations and exercises on the other hand. Croatia has been participating in NATO missions and operations from Afghanistan to Kosovo for many years, ever before becoming a member,” said Tuđman.

“The world has seen a shift from conventional wars to information wars. Soft power has become stronger than hard power. Today we are witnessing that military operations are used to support information operations. The fact is that, as countries become technologically more advanced and economically more developed, they also become more vulnerable,” said Tuđman who expects that the NATO Parliamentary Assembly will play an increasing role in finding a political agreement on various scenarios and strategies for the use of military resources, NATO's missions and operations. He added that in the coming months Croatia would adopt its new national security strategy and adopt a law on homeland security.

Chief of General Staff Mirko Šundov said that Croatia's membership in NATO further strengthened its security, and it is ready to share its experiences from the accession process with friendly countries from Southeast Europe and facilitate their path towards Euro-Atlantic integration. “The ability for national defence remains the priority in the further development of our armed forces. They will be developed as modern, well-equipped and trained forces, interoperable with those of allies and partners, capable of deterring potential threats to the security and survival of the homeland, and, if deterrence fails, to defend the homeland. They also must be prepared to support the defence of allies, to contribute to peace and security at the international level, and to assist civilian institutions,” said Šundov.

Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said that NATO today is, more than ever, the guarantor of security and freedom, and Croatia will continue to invest in weapons and in military personnel. “After a long time, in 2017 we have managed to increase the defence budget by 9 percent. I expect and I will advocate for a further increase of the defence budget in the future. Croatia as a NATO member contributes to its own national security and the security of its allies and strengthens its own position in the international community,” said Krstičević.

Speaker of Parliament Božo Petrov said that events since the accession to NATO demonstrated that Croatia strongly advocated for the NATO expansion to all those countries which see their future within the guidelines set out in the framework of the NATO open doors policy. “The benefit is mutual. Expanding the security zone strengthens NATO, while new members come under the protection of the NATO ‘umbrella’,” said Petrov.