ZAGREB, Nov. 25 (Xinhua) -- Croatia and France signed here Thursday a Strategic Partnership Agreement and a deal for Croatia to purchase 12 French Rafale fighter jets.
"All the talks we have represent the beginning of a new phase in the relations between Croatia and France," Croatian Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said at a press conference after his talks with visiting French President Emmanuel Macron.
The Strategic Partnership Agreement is expected to expand bilateral cooperation to a number of new areas and it will be a framework for further strengthening bilateral relations.
Moreover, Plenkovic spoke highly of the deal to purchase 12 used French Rafale fighter jets. "We get state-of-the-art aircraft. That is how we protect our territory, our land and our sea," he said.
According to Croatian Defense Minister Mario Banozic, the Rafale fighter jets are fully compatible with NATO standards that would be "sufficient for Croatia for 30 years or more."
For his part, Macron said France supports Croatia's efforts to enter the Schengen area as part of the Schengen reform.
"I support your efforts to join the Schengen area, and France will work on that from the first day of its presidency," Macron said, referring to the half-year Council of the European Union (EU) presidency that France will take over from Jan. 1 next year.