Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević (Photo: Miranda Cikotic/PIXSELL) Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević (Photo: Miranda Cikotic/PIXSELL)

After Croatia and some other NATO member states received a near-ultimatum from the US and NATO in Brussels in late October to draft a plan in six weeks on how to achieve the minimum required allotment of two percent of GDP on defense, Croatia's Deputy Prime Minister and Defense Minister Damir Krstičević has confirmed that an action plan to that effect has been drawn up.

Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Minister Krstičević will represent Croatia at the NATO summit in London on Wednesday and Thursday, where they are expected to publicly commit to bring Croatia's contribution to the NATO alliance to 2 percent of its GDP over the next five years, meaning that by 2024 the country will spend an estimated 9.4 billion Kuna annually on defense.

This also means that Croatia will increase defense spending by 40 percent, as it currently sets aside 6.7 billion for military spending, which is 1.68 percent of GDP. However, this figure also includes veteran's pensions, which means that only some 5 billion Kuna are spent on the military budget. Also represented in that figure are salaries, which means that 73 percent of the 6.7 billion are actually spent on personnel and not military equipment and modernization, which is what NATO believes that Croatia needs to invest into.

In terms of modernization Croatia is currently last in spending of all NATO member states, setting aside less than seven percent of its military budget for that purpose. The mean among NATO member states is roughly 23 percent. NATO expects Croatia to reach the minimum target of 20 percent by 2024.

Source: HRT