NATO Secretary General discusses summit preparations with the President of Croatia
Speaking after a meeting with the Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic, the NATO Secretary General thanked Croatia for contributions to NATO’s enhanced Forward Presence battlegroups in Lithuania and Poland, and to the Alliance’s missions in Afghanistan and in Kosovo. The Secretary General also thanked Croatia for financial contributions, including to the Military Transition Trust Fund in Ukraine, which helps former soldiers start a new life after retirement.
Discussing preparations for the Summit in July, Mr. Stoltenberg said that NATO will take the steps to modernise the Alliance, to further strengthen collective deterrence and defence, to continue to project stability including fighting terrorism and to take forward cooperation with the European Union. The Secretary General said that Allies will also discuss burden-sharing at the Summit.
“We made a decision, a pledge, a defence investment pledge in Wales at our NATO Summit there in 2014. We agreed to stop the cuts in defence spending. To gradually increase and move towards spending 2% of GDP on defence within a decade. And I welcome that Croatia has stopped the cuts in defence spending and also started to increase but I hope that Croatia can do more, because we need all Allies to fully make good on the pledge we made together back in 2014”, he said
The Secretary General also said that NATO appreciates the role Croatia plays in supporting security and stability in South-East Europe and the Euro-Atlantic aspirations of neighbouring countries.
“This is important for the whole of NATO, for the whole of Europe. And stability and security in this region benefits stability and security in Europe”, he said.