Croatia, France ink deal for Rafale fighter jets
French president, Croatian premier sign $1.2B contract for 12 jets, strategic partnership agreement
Croatia on Thursday sealed a deal to buy 12 Rafale fighter jets worth nearly €1 billion ($1.12 billion) from France.
The agreement was signed during French President Emmanuel Macron’s visit to Croatia, which is the first by a French head of state since Croatia declared its independence.
Macron and Croatia’s Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic inked the contract and a strategic partnership agreement in the capital Zagreb.
Plenkovic said at a joint news conference that the acquisition of the planes was a “game-changer” that would enable Croatia to become an important player in ensuring security in southeastern Europe.
Macron said the deal will boost both the bilateral ties and Europe’s defenses.
Croatia, a member of both NATO and the European Union, will use the French jets to replace Soviet-era MiG-21s from the 1950s.
Macron said Croatia’s ties with Western Balkan countries will help the EU achieve its goals in the region.
“Peace is one of the EU’s strategic goals. I know that is also important for the Western Balkan states. Croatia’s relations with the Western Balkans will help us,” he said.
The French leader also hailed the new strategic partnership deal between Paris and Zagreb as “a new beginning for Croatia.”