Defence Secretary confirms the UK’s commitment to European security during visit from Croatian President…

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has reviewed the growing defence relationship between the UK and Croatia in a meeting with President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic.

Mr Fallon welcomed President Grabar-Kitarovic to the Ministry of Defence for her first visit to the UK since Croatia confirmed it would contribute a Military Police platoon to NATO’s Very High Readiness Joint Task Force when the UK takes the lead in 2017. The multinational force will be able to be deployed in days to protect NATO allies from potential threats and acts of aggression.

In the coming months the Defence Secretary is also due to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between the UK and Croatia, providing a framework for developing co-operation.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "Croatia is playing an important part in NATO’s measures to strengthen its eastern border, as well as contributing to the Very High Readiness Taskforce that the UK leads next year. By strengthening our links, we are showing that Britain’s commitment to European security as a leading member of NATO is unwavering."

The visit further strengthens bilateral relations between the two countries, following the visit of the Royal Navy Type 45 destroyer HMS Defender to Split in June. In August, a Reserves Exercise SAVA STAR was undertaken by 7 Scots with a Croatian Armed Forces infantry platoon fully integrated into the British Company. It has been agreed that this will now run as an annual exercise until 2020.