International Conference ‘NATO – Achievements and New Tasks’

Croatia_PresidentOn 9th April 2015, the international conference ‘NATO – Achievements and New Tasks’ took place in Zagreb at the Military Academy of the Croatian Ministry of Defence. This event gathered more than 150 participants and was organized to celebrate six years of Croatia in NATO and the 15tth anniversary of the Atlantic Council of Croatia. The President of the Atlantic Council of Croatia, Prof. Radovan Vukadinovic opened the conference stating that NATO is going through a phase in which it needs to reposition itself and therefore the role of the Atlantic Treaty Association (ATA), the organization gathering all Atlantic Councils, becomes very important in informing the citizens and the youth about NATO’s role.

 The Deputy Defence Minister Visnja Tafra said that Croatia has joined NATO to strengthen its own security, but also to contribute to the security and stability in the world. Tafra reiterated that Croatia is a promoter of NATO’s enlargement policy and that this position will be reaffirmed at the next NATO Summit in Warszaw.

General Drago Lovrić, Chief of Staff of the Croatian Armed Forces, reminded the participants of the time when the Atlantic Council of Croatia was founded a few days after Croatia joined the Partnership for Peace program in 2000, in order to start modernizing the military according to NATO standards and to be be ready for participating in peace operations.

The President of the Republic of Croatia Kolinda Grabar Kitarović, one of the founder and first members of the Atlantic Council of Croatia, stated that atlantism is one of her fundamental beliefs. Grabar Kitarović reminded that no country in the world should take security for granted. ‘NATO is going through challenges, but the Article 5 of Washington Treaty still remains the backbone of relations among NATO member countries’, she stressed.

The second panel discussion was opened by the newly elected President of the Atlantic Treaty Association Prof. Fabrizio Luciolli, who addressed the problem with Russia increasing its defence budget. Some estimates predict that it will become larger than the French and British ones altogether. Luciolli stressed the importance of ATA activities aimed at promoting security issues relevant to NATO.

Talking about gender equality, Brigadier Gordana Garašić, reminded that in 2015 we mark 15 years of the UN Resolution 1325 regarding women in peace and security. ‘The NATO Summit in Wales has confirmed the implementation of the Resolution’, she stated, adding that gender equality is a matter of human rights.

Brigadier General Ivan Jurić confirmed that Croatia is participating in peace operations conducted by NATO, but also by the EU and the UN, to which currently 146 members of the Croatian Armed Forces are employed around the world.

The conference ended with a panel featuring young members of the Youth Atlantic Treaty Association from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Croatia, Macedonia, Slovenia and Serbia. All YATA members have confirmed that NATO is fundamental to the euroatlantic integration and to ensure peace and security in the world.