EU foreign and defense ministers meeting in Brussels (Photo: HRT) EU foreign and defense ministers meeting in Brussels (Photo: HRT)

The program, known as Permanent Structured Cooperation or PESCO, aims to help the EU meet security challenges. The EU hopes to enhance the bloc's capacity as an international security partner, better protect Europeans, and make defense spending more effective.

Croatia's Defense Minister Damir Krstičević, who signed a letter of intent on behalf of Croatia to join the pact, said that along with increasing security, it would also provide opportunities for Croatia's defense industry.

"Croatia's participation in PESCO offers an opportunity for Croatia's defense industry companies to get involved more intensively on projects involving military equipment and modernization within the EU. These projects involve cyber defense technology, intelligence, drone technology, and logistics. There are many projects to choose from and our goal is for Croatian companies to take part and for Croatia to benefit from the projects themselves," said Krstičević.

The UK is not taking part in PESCO because it is leaving the bloc, while Denmark has opted out. Malta, Portugal and Ireland are still considering whether or not to join the pact.

Source: HRT