After holding discussions in Zagreb with his Croatian host Damir Krsticevic, Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó stated that the relationship between Croatia and Hungary is based on common interest, which must be strengthened and protected as effectively as possible.

In the Croatian capital, the two ministers discussed the increasing terrorist threat facing Europe, the migration crisis and the collective development of the armed forces.

“At the meeting, we have reaffirmed our intention to cooperate, and concluded that today’s new types of challenges definitely strengthen our willingness to join together”, István Simicskó said at the joint press briefing.

He added that Hungary and Croatia are starting a military modernization program, so it is important that the two countries coordinate their approach and implement as many joint projects as possible that are useful for both countries.

“The Croatians are not only our friends but also our neighbors, and there are much more things that connect us than those that divide us”, emphasized the minister, adding that the friendship between the two nations is also reflected in the choice of Miklós Zrínyi as the eponym of the Hungarian armed forces development program.

Dr. István Simicskó noted that the two countries’ chiefs of defence will soon meet to coordinate the professional programs. As he said, agreement has been reached on establishing a joint working group in support of the cooperation.  He expressed hope that Croatia will also open a military attaché office in Budapest – Hungary opened one in Zagreb last year – because it would be important in the interest of practical cooperation.

Damir Krsticevic told the press that “I and the Hungarian minister agree that our countries play a key role in preserving peace and stability in South-Eastern Europe”.

The Croatian minister noted that he and his counterpart discussed the air force as well. Mr. Krsticevic was of the opinion that in this field Hungary is ahead of Croatia, and that is why he was interested in the Hungarian experience gained in this regard.

Croatia’s only fighter squadron consists of 12 overhauled MiG-21bis combat aircraft as well as UM trainers.

Croatian Head of State Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic recently announced that Croatia has issued an invitation to tender for modernizing the aircraft pool of the air force, and the bids will be evaluated before the end of this year.