Defence Minister and Finance Minister at Odds over New Fighter Planes

Total Croatia News

The question whether Croatia should buy new fighter planes is turning into one of the major political issues for 2017.

Minister of Defence and Deputy Prime Minister Damir Krstičević said on Thursday before the cabinet meeting that Croatia needed combat airplanes for its Air Force and that the decision would be made in 2017, stressing that such a decision should be reached by consensus of parliamentary parties because it is a non-partisan issue regarding national security, reports on December 29, 2016.

I believe that Croatia needs this capability. We should not put ourselves in a situation like in the 1990s when we were disarmed, said Krstičević responding to reporters’ questions about media reports that an advisory team at the Ministry of Defence recommended that Croatia should buy new fighter aircraft. According to the reports, the team recommended that the decision to retain this component of the Air Force should be made early next year, while the decision on which type of aircraft would be acquired should be made by the end of 2017.

The decision will be made during 2017 and we will certainly take into account the best way how to achieve this capacity, said Krstičević. We want to include in this process all parliamentary parties and seek a consensus, because it is an issue which is not part of party politics; rather, it is a matter of national security, he said.

The media reported that the advisory team determined that Gripen JAS 39 C/D from Sweden and FA-50 aircraft from South Korea were the best options for equipping the Air Force. The expert advisory team was named by Defence Minister and consists of retired generals of the Croatian Air Force.

On the other hand, Finance Minister Zdravko Marić believes that it is not necessary to rush with the acquisition of new fighter jets, adding that the long-term strategy and plan for the Armed Forces development still needed to be discussed, he told reporters on Thursday.

“We do not need to rush the issue. I think that there will still be discussions about the long-term strategy for the Armed Forces”, said Marić to reporters, when asked about the planned purchase of new fighter jets.

Asked whether he was ready to give in to “wishes” of Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Krstičević, “since the deadlines are almost here”, he said that “you could have seen by now that I am not inclined to give in to anybody”.


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