President Milanović Meets with French President Macron: Procurement of Fighter Jets is a Major Thing for Croatia

25. November 2021.

“We discussed above all the procurement of aircraft. This is a major thing for Croatia, both strategically and financially. But we also discussed events in the region, the world, Ukraine, Russia. These are all topics that France, as the current and clearly for a long time to come the only nuclear power in the European Union, a permanent member of the Security Council, views in a little broader way than we do,” the President of the Republic Zoran Milanović said after meeting with the President of the French Republic Emmanuel Macron, who is on an official visit to the Republic of Croatia that commenced with a welcoming ceremony in the Office of the President of the Republic.

President Milanović described the talks as excellent and said the visit of the French President was an honour for Croatia. “This will be followed by strategic cooperation, on the basis of the agreement and the declaration that will be signed in the Government. In some respects this is a new beginning for Croatia. Of course, we will remain a Euro-Atlantic country, we have cooperated and we will cooperate with the USA, and this is in fact a major change that we are looking forward to,” President Milanović added.

Expressing his gratitude for the cordial welcome and discussion, President Macron said: “It was a great pleasure and I am proud to be the first President of the French Republic to visit Croatia since its independence. It is not fair because this visit is a symbol of our friendship and shows how strong the ties between Croatia and France are. In 2013, Croatia became the 28th EU Member State. At that moment, the Croatian people decided to join our common project, fully aware that belonging to the EU is what contributes to peace and prosperity in a region where there have been conflicts and dramatic situations. The Croatian people were also aware of the fact that there is great solidarity among the Member States and we continue to follow this path.”

Today’s official visit and signed partnership, President Macron stressed, will enhance bilateral ties in defense, thanks to the Rafale aircraft. “Our two countries will continue to work on various topics of security, migration, research – these are all topics that pave Croatia’s European path to Schengen and European integration. These are joint projects, which will also be projects of the French Presidency of the Council of the EU. That is what we talked about,” said President Macron, emphasizing, inter alia, that “our bilateral cooperation, which we will strengthen, is extremely important for the issue before us, and that is the Western Balkans, the issue of peace, which is a strategic matter for the EU.”

“I know that this is important to you and that your ties with the Western Balkans will help us. This visit certainly marks a new chapter in our bilateral relations in the areas of culture, economy, defense, and a lot is still ahead of us. Thank you for the conversation and for all that lies ahead,” the President of the French Republic concluded.

Prior to their meeting in the Office of the President, Presidents Milanović and Macron met with Croatian Air Force pilots.

The two Presidents delivered statements before journalists wearing an orange ribbon on the lapel of their suits, thereby highlighting the importance of International Day for the Elimination of Violence Against Women, which is marked on the 25th of November. “I am very glad that the French President has joined” the observance of this date, said President Milanović, who initiated the gesture.  

PHOTO: Office of the President of the Republic of Croatia / Filip Glas, Dario Andrišek, Marko Beljan