Croatia To Spend 1.2 Billion Euros To Modernize, Create Professional Army
By AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE, ZAGREB, Croatia
Croatia is to spend some 1.2 billion euros ($1.5 billion) over the next ten years to modernize its armed forces with the aim of having fully professional army in line with NATO standards, according to a strategy document published June 29.
”Since there is a small possibility of a classical military threat coupled with the need of participating in a wide specter of military tasks, the ranks of armed forces will be filled on voluntary basis,” the document said. The defense ministry said that by the end of the decade the army should be completely professional and reduced to 18,000 soldiers plus 2,000 civilian staff.
By the same time the country would spend two percent of its gross domestic product on the military, up from 1.7 percent in this year, as requested by NATO. The project envisages acquisition of modern weapons, including 73 armored vehicles and 12 fighter planes, and modernization of existing military equipment, it added. The former Yugoslav republic is hoping to join the North Atlantic military alliance by 2008.
Croatia is a member of NATO’s Partnership for Peace Programme and in late 2002 it began reorganizing its armed forces, including trimming its army from 40,000 to 25,000 to bring it up to NATO standards. http://www.defensenews.com/story.php?F=1917390&C=europe