Croatia Will Set Aside 9.4 Billion Kuna for Defence by 2024

By 2 December 2019

ZAGREB, December 2, 2019 - After Croatia was almost given an ultimatum by the U.S. and NATO in Brussels at the end of October, like some other NATO member states, to come up with a plan in six weeks on how to set aside 2% of GDP for defence, Defence Minister Damir Krstičević has told Večernji List daily of Monday that an action plan has been drawn up.

"Croatia will be in the green," he was quoted as saying.

Krstičević and Prime Minister Andrej Plenković 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% by 2024, when it is estimated that its annual defence budget will be 9.4 billion kuna.

Now Croatia spends about 6.7 billion kuna on defence, so a 40% increase will be achieved by 2024. NATO believes 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% of GDP on defence, this amount (6.7 billion kuna) includes veterans' pensions, which means that 5 billion kuna is spent annually on the active army.

When salaries are added to the pensions, it turns out that Croatia spends 73% of its defence budget on personnel. Consequently, much less is spent on equipment and modernisation which, Večernji List says, is disastrous, notably after the failed procurement of fighter jets.

More news about defence issues can be found in the Politics section.