Zagreb - Croatia will strongly advocate NATO's enlargement because it believes that the future of Southeast Europe, its stability and progress depend significantly on membership in NATO and the EU, Parliament Speaker Božo Petrov said on Tuesday after meeting NATO Parliamentary Assembly President Paolo Alli on the occasion of the 8th anniversary of Croatia's membership in NATO.
Recalling that NATO membership meant primarily security and stability, Petrov said that Croatia had turned from a recipient of security assistance into a country guaranteeing security, which was why it would advocate NATO's expansion to all countries wishing to join the alliance.
"We believe that the future of Southeast Europe, stability, peace and progress significantly depend on transatlantic integration, on accession to the EU and NATO," Petrov said. Alli said that Montenegro would join NATO in a few months and that other Southeast European countries have the same aspirations. Europe will not be Europe until the Western Balkans is integrated into it because it is part of Europe. NATO can help in that process and Croatia will naturally have a key role, said Alli. He noted that security today was threatened by terrorism, migrations, refugee crises and cyber attacks.
We must be united because security is a global matter, we cannot guarantee security alone, we have to be in this together. Croatia gives a very important contribution to various NATO missions, said Alli.
Petrov and Alli today participated in a ceremony in the Croatian parliament marking the anniversary of Croatia's accession to NATO, which was also addressed by Defence Minister Damir Krstičević, Armed Forces Chief-of-Staff Mirko Šundov, the head of the Croatian parliamentary delegation in NATO's Parliamentary Assembly, Miroslav Tuđman, and Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović's envoy Anamarija Kirinić.