ZAGREB, November 23, 2020 – France is confidently expecting an assessment by a Croatian technical team of its Rafale fighter jets and hopes that in 2021 Croatia will make its final decision on which jets it will buy to replace its Air Force fleet, France’s Defence Minister Florence Parly said in Zagreb on Monday.
Parly met with in Government House on Monday.
We are at the Croatian government’s disposal for any additional questions and we are confidently waiting for the results and decision by the technical commission. I hope that in 2021 we will know the Croatian government’s final decision, Parly told the press after meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic and Defence Minister Mario Banozic.
She added that it was now up to Croatian authorities to completely independently consider not just the French proposal but all the proposals that arrived from other countries. She recalled that France had offered 12 used Rafale fighter jets that had proved themselves in numerous operations.
Banozic said that the interdepartmental commission would meet after December 12 and make its recommendation taking account of the financial nature of the bid, the technical characteristics, the foreign policy context and the “use by date” of the current MiG-21 jets.
He added that the government could make a final decision early next year.
In addition to the bid by France, Croatia has received bids from Sweden, the United States and Israel.
Parly said that regardless of which bid Croatia opted for, France wanted “to entirely strengthen our strategic partnership,” including cooperation within European programmes for industrial development in the field of defence. She added that industry both in Croatia and France would benefit from that.
Parly said that France advocated a stronger European defence and greater strategic autonomy, particularly regarding the numerous challenges facing Europe, like terrorist attacks and the series of crises that have emerged on the threshold of the EU, from Libya to the Balkans and to Nagorno-Karabakh.
More than ever it is essential that Europeans are aware of the common challenge…we know that we can count on Croatia, said Parly.
This is Parly’s second visit to Croatia. She visited Croatia in March and met with Prime Minister Plenkovic to discuss the problem of illegal migrants while Plenkovic informed her of his recent visit to the Greek-Turkish border and of the situation there at the time as well as of the efforts by the Croatian police to protect the border.