Bratislava - The current crisis in Ukraine poses a serious security risk and the EU and NATO countries should take unified steps in this respect, Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said at the Globsec international conference that ends today.
Ministr obrany Martin Stropnický hovoří s novináři 15. dubna v Lucemburku při příchodu na jednání ministrů obrany EU. ČTK Dospiva Jakub
He also supported a close alliance of Europe and the United States in the security area and the necessity to increase the defence expenditure.
The Ukrainian crisis is not a classic conflict but it poses an unprecedented risk; it is hard to say whether this is a civil war and who stands behind it, Stropnicky said about the conflict during a debate of the defence ministers and state secretaries of the Visegrad Four countries (V4), comprising also Hungary, Poland and Slovakia.
He said he strongly supports the transatlantic bond and that the presence of the United States in this [central and east European] area is crucial from the security viewpoint.
Along with his counterparts from the other V4 countries, Stropnicky talked about cooperation of the group in the military area.
He called the V4 plan to form a joint combat unit of up to 4000 soldiers by 2016 a significant pilot project of this cooperation.
In March, the V4 countries agreed on a long-term development of their cooperation, for instance, in the defence industry and on a stronger involvement of military product makers within the group.
The Czech Republic, similar to other NATO member states, does not meet the alliance´s demand that at least 2 percent of GDP be spent on defence. Prague earmarks some 1.1 percent of GDP for it.
However, Stropnicky said the Defence Ministry must first prove its efficient financial management with the current budget before asking for an increase in funding.
He added that the Czech Republic is preparing a political declaration that would become a fundamental document on the country´s defence sector, including its financial outlook for about five years.