France is 'confidently expecting' Croatia's defence experts to assess the strengths of its Rafale fighter jets offered in the country's air force tender, and hopes that in 2021 Croatia will make its final decision on which airplanes it will buy to replace its old fleet of MiG-21s, the French Defence Minister, Florence Parly, said in Zagreb on Monday.
We are at the Croatian government's disposal for any additional questions and we are confidently waiting for the results and decision by the technical commission. I hope that in 2021 we will know the Croatian government's final decision, Parly told the press after meeting with Prime Minister Andrej Plenković and Defence Minister Mario Banožić.
She added that it was now up to Croatian authorities to completely independently consider not just the French proposal but all the proposals that arrived from other countries. She recalled that France had offered 12 used Rafale fighter jets that had proved themselves in numerous operations.
Banožić said that the interdepartmental commission would meet after December 12 and make its recommendation taking account of the financial nature of the bid, the technical characteristics, the foreign policy context and the "use by date" of the current MiG-21 jets.
Parly said that regardless of which bid Croatia opted for, France wanted "to entirely strengthen our strategic partnership," including cooperation within European programs for industrial development in the field of defence. She added that industry both in Croatia and France would benefit from that.
Croatia has received bids from Sweden, the United States, and Israel. A final decision is expected early next year.
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