NATO's European member states have been increasing their investments in defence for the sixth consecutive year, Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at a video conference of defence ministers on Friday, the Croatian Defence Ministry said.
Speaking at a meeting of NATO defence ministers which took place on Thursday and today, with Mario Banozic of Croatia participating, Stoltenberg said 2020 was the sixth year in a row in which European member states and Canada increased those investments, by 4.3% in real terms.
He said he expected the trend to continue. The ministers confirmed their commitment to an agreement to set aside 2% of GDP for defence by 2024.
Banozic said Croatia had shown its commitment to that target by increasing the defence budget in the past four years.
He said the coronavirus pandemic had shown the importance of including all of society in combating it, including the military. In doing so, the homeland security system in Croatia has proved to be a good instrument in helping civil society, he added.
Today the meeting discussed NATO's peace missions, with emphasis on Iraq, and the implementation of UN Security Council resolution 1325, i.e. the Women, Peace and Security Agenda.
Banozic said missions were the most visible expression of the commitment to global security, stability, unity and strength of NATO.
He said Croatia planned to continue to participate in Kosovo Force, Sea Guardian, NATO's training mission in Iraq and Enhanced Forward Presence in Poland and Lithuania.