ZAGREB, October 4, 2018 – The defence ministers of NATO members Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovenia and Hungary signed in Brussels on Thursday a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a multinational centre in Zadar, Croatia for the training of helicopter crews engaged in special missions.
“This is a very important day. By signing this memorandum… we are taking an important step in the development of allied defence capabilities,” Croatian Defence Minister Damir Krstičević said.
This will be NATO’s first international centre in Croatia. The memorandum was signed on the fringes of a meeting of member states’ defence ministers taking place in Brussels on Wednesday and Thursday.
The centre will be intended for the training of teams specialised in the transport of special air forces in extremely demanding missions, said NATO’s Deputy Secretary General, Rose Gottemoeller. “This is emblematic of the innovative approach NATO allies and partners are taking as we enhance our collective defence capabilities.”
The centre is expected to open its doors by the end of 2019, she said, adding that she was pleased the signatories had shown willingness to open the centre also to other allied countries.
Krstičević said that today, “in the era of interdependence, cooperative partnership is not a matter of choice but a necessity… We all know that no ally, no matter how powerful and big, can address future challenges alone. The signing of this memorandum symbolises the genuine partnership and unity of the allies, showing that everyone benefits from joint efforts.”
Speaking to reporters after the signing, he said “this is a big day for Croatia and the Croatian Army because we have been recognised as a credible ally and partner… I’m happy the Croatian Army is developing, getting a new capability.”