Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő and Croatian Defence Minister and Deputy Prime Minister Damir Krstičević signed a joint airspace policing agreement and a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a multinational command on Monday, 8 April in Budapest.
Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Damir Krstičević visited Hungary at the invitation of Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő. Following negotiations at the Ministry of Defence, Mr. Benkő said the talks has been successful and forward-looking. The ministers announced that they had concluded a joint airspace policing agreement, the main goal of which is to enable the air forces of the two countries to jointly assist the defence of each other’s airspace if necessary. “This is good for Croatia, it is good for Hungary, and it reinforces NATO’s capabilities”, the Hungarian Defence Minister said.
At the meeting, the parties also signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of a Central European multinational division-level command, which according to plan will be set up in Hungary with the participation of five nations. The Croatian party was the first to join the initiative. “A command of this nature would serve the security of the region and the whole of Central Europe”, Mr. Benkő pointed out.
As proof of their excellent partnership, the Hungarian Defence Minister mentioned that during the course of defence cooperation between the two countries, they have already concluded four agreement during the past six months. He said joint work would continue in future, citing as an example the drawing up of a cooperation agreement on air search and rescue. “The tasks and goals that stand before us are common. We must be jointly responsible for the security of the European peoples”, Minister of Defence Tibor Benkő emphasised.
Croatian Deputy Prime Minister Damir Krstičević also stressed the importance of cooperation. “The altered global security situation represents one of the greatest challenges facing modern societies, and accordingly there is a greater need than ever before for the tightening of defence relations between allied countries”, he said, adding: “Hungary and Croatia are neighbouring countries, cooperation between us at defence level is excellent, and we have further expanded this today”. The Croatian Minister of Defence highlighted: “We will be making our meetings with the Hungarian Defence Minister a regular occurrence and accordingly will be meeting again in the first half of 2020 to enable the analysis of the results achieved so far and to set new cooperation goals”.