15th anniversary of Croatia’s NATO membership

  • Slika
After the establishment of democracy over three decades ago, Croatia, alongside accession to the European Union, identified membership in NATO as one of its strategic priorities in realizing national interests and establishing security conditions for the continuous development and strengthening of the Croatian state and society.
Following the victory over the aggressor and the defense of freedom and democracy in the Homeland War, Croatia embarked on its path towards this political-military and defense alliance as a key factor for peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic area and as a community of free and democratic states sharing the same values.
After the membership invitation in April 2008 at the NATO Summit in Bucharest and brief accession negotiations, the accession protocol was signed in Brussels on July 9, 2008, which was subsequently ratified in the parliaments of the member states. National ratification instruments were deposited at the US Department of State, the depository of the North Atlantic Treaty. Croatia became a NATO member state by depositing its ratification document on April 1, 2009. As a member state, it participated in the NATO Summit on April 3 and 4, 2009, in Strasbourg and Kehl. The Croatian flag was raised in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels on April 7, 2009.
Through its membership in the Alliance over the past 15 years, Croatia has strengthened its international position in terms of security, political, economic, and geopolitical aspects. As a Central European, Danubian, Adriatic, and Mediterranean country, Croatia, with its geostrategic position, represents an important link between these European regions. Croatia actively participates in shaping Alliance policies and the NATO collective decision-making system, whose unanimous decisions reflect Croatian national positions, priorities, and interests. Through significant contributions to NATO missions and operations, as well as participation in strengthening deterrence and defense on the eastern flank of NATO, Croatia invests in its own security, demonstrates solidarity, fulfills its international obligations in crisis stabilization, transfers previously acquired knowledge - especially those gained in the Homeland War - and develops capabilities of its armed forces with technologically advanced, innovative solutions, and strengthens its own defense industry.
In the year when Croatia marks the 15th anniversary of its membership in the Alliance, NATO celebrates 75 years of its existence. This year’s dual anniversary represents an important moment, both for Croatia and for NATO as a whole. The anniversary of Croatian membership is a confirmation of the continuation of strong Croatian presence within Euro-Atlantic security structures, while marking NATO’s 75th anniversary is an opportunity for reflection on the history and achievements of the Alliance, as well as current and future security challenges. Russia’s aggressive war against Ukraine has threatened European security and changed the geopolitical relations and security environment of the Alliance. NATO has therefore strongly focused on a comprehensive approach to security through its three core tasks: defense and deterrence, crisis management and conflict prevention, and cooperative security. Today, perhaps more than ever before, NATO continues to strengthen its unity and solidarity, based on the strength of the transatlantic bond and shared democratic values, for the purpose of preserving peace and security.
Through NATO, Croatia will continue to work on preserving and strengthening its own security and the stability of the European continent in a broader sense, especially Southeastern Europe, promoting fundamental values of democracy and freedom.
On the occasion of the anniversary, the Croatian Post will issue a new commemorative postage stamp on April 2, 2024, featuring a stylized combination of the NATO logo and the Croatian coat of arms.
Likewise, in Zagreb, on April 4, from 6 to 9 pm, the Zagreb Fountains (University Park) will be specially illuminated for the occasion.

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