Croatia joined NATO on 1 April 2009. It plays an active part in the Alliance’s political processes, contributes to NATO’s missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan, and plays an important role in building cooperation in the Adriatic region and with the countries of the Western Balkans.
“You are a young member of our Alliance, and you bring us fresh energy, and fresh ideas,” the Secretary General said.
In particular, Croatia leads the Military Police School in Kabul, cooperating with NATO Ally Slovenia and Adriatic Charter countries that aspire to NATO membership: Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia1.
“Together, under Croatia’s leadership, those countries are building stability in Afghanistan – and cooperation between themselves. They are building security in the heart of Asia but also in the heart of Europe,” the Secretary General said.
Speaking after a meeting with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanovic, the Secretary General stressed NATO’s commitment to support security and stability in the region – including by keeping the Alliance’s door open to new members.
“NATO is committed to the future of the whole region in the Euro-Atlantic family. And we are determined to help you along that path,” he said.
As NATO made clear at the Chicago Summit, the Alliance is strongly committed to the Euro-Atlantic integration of those partners which aspire to join NATO, and encourages them to continue to implement the necessary reforms.
“It is not an easy path. It demands real commitment. And it demands real progress in reforms, and in reconciliation. But as Croatia’s example shows, it can be done. And it is worth the effort,” the Secretary General said.