PM Says Fighter Jet Purchase Big Step Forward

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“That’s such a strong and big step forward for the Croatian Army. We can be very satisfied. I think it’s a phenomenal step forward and that it’s a step forward for which we waited 30 years. I haven’t heard even a hint of dissatisfaction from anyone who deals with this all the time,” he told the press.

As for the general comment “we could have given the money for something else,” we are giving it, he added.

The aircraft will be paid for over several years without it impacting the deficit, Plenković said, adding that the process was “carefully calibrated and carried out in a way we can be proud of.”

As for criticisms that the price of the jets has gone up, which President Zoran Milanović said was scandalous, Plenković said, “If yesterday he was happy and today it’s a scandal, did he wait for Macron to leave before reacting? I find it a little ridiculous.”

French President Emmanuel Macron visited Croatia on Wednesday and Thursday, when an agreement on the purchase of the Rafale fighter jets was signed.

Plenković said VAT was not paid on used goods but on the commercial part and that the state paid that to itself. As for price indexation in the repayment years, he said it was something normal.

As for Milanović’s criticisms that no one had consulted him about a strategic defence agreement, the prime minister said he could care less.

“He met with Macron yesterday, he supported the purchase of the aircraft. The strategic partnership is a document signed by the government and the French president. He received the document, the preparation and the information. It’s ridiculous that he’s complaining after the meeting. He should be happy.”

Plenković said everyone was looking for some media coverage, but that one should be smart about it.

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