NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen praised Croatia’s commitment to security during his visit to the country on 6 July.
Croatia has been a NATO member since 1 April 2009 and partakes in NATO’s missions in Kosovo and Afghanistan, and contributes in building cooperation in the Adriatic region and especially with the countries of the Western Balkans.
Rasmussen praised Croatia's role in the Alliance, emphasising that the country bring “fresh energy, and fresh ideas”. He underlined that Croatia leads the Military Police School in Kabul, and in cooperation with Slovenia assists the Adriatic Charter countries, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro and the former Yugoslav republic of Macedonia, in their aspiration to join NATO.
“Together, under Croatia’s leadership, those countries are building stability in Afghanistan – and cooperation between themselves. They are building security in the heart of Asia but also in the heart of Europe,” Rasmussen said.
NATO Secretary General met with Croatian Prime Minister Zoran Milanović, and emphasised Alliance’s commitment to support security and stability in the region, as well NATO's policy of open door for new members from the Balkans.
“NATO is committed to the future of the whole region in the Euro-Atlantic family. And we are determined to help you along that path,” Rasmussen said. He added that a path towards NATO membership is not easy and that “it demands real commitment”. “It [NATO membership] demands real progress in reforms, and in reconciliation. But as Croatia’s example shows, it can be done. And it is worth the effort,” NATO Secretary General said.
NATO clearly expressed, at its Chicago Summit, the Alliance's commitment to the Euro-Atlantic integration of countries which aspire to join NATO, and encouraged them to continue to implement the necessary reforms.