Czech defence is based on NATO, EU - six mainstream parties


12.03.2014 18:08

Prague - The Czech Republic's defence is based on its NATO membership and EU defence policy, a declaration signed today by leaders of the Social Democrats (CSSD), the ANO movement, the Christian Democrats, the Civic Democratic Party (ODS), TOP 09 and Dawn of Direct Democracy says.


Národní konference 15 let Česka v NATO - naše bezpečnost není samozřejmost se konala 12. března v Praze. ČTK Šulová Kateřina

The CSSD, ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) are members of the centre-left coalition government formed this January.

Out of the parties represented in the Chamber of Deputies, only the Communists (KSCM) did not sign the document, titled the Declaration of Party Leaders on Safeguarding the Czech Republic's Defence.

The six parties pledged to pursue a united policy in the sphere of national defence.

"It is the task of our armed forces to ensure the Czech Republic's defence and to contribute to the protection of its allies," the declaration said.

"A participation in collective defence and ability to accept help from the alliance must be an integral part of the building of the Czech Republic's defence capabilities. Solidarity with allies is a precondition of the functioning of collective defence," the declaration said.

The party leaders signed it on the 15th anniversary of the Czech Republic's joining NATO.

Based on the declaration, an expert group will be formed to outline a political pact on safeguarding national defence.

Each of the participating parties will try to have its priorities included in it.

Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (CSSD) said the CSSD would advocate a long-term plan for the modernisation of the military including its personnel stabilisation.

The document is to be finished before the NATO summit scheduled for this September.

"The military's organisation does not correspond with its size," Sobotka said.

"It is necessary to finish the integration of the general staff into the Defence Ministry and to thoroughly examine the questions of the size and efficiency of all state-run organisations," Sobotka said.

Christian Democrat leader Pavel Belobradek said the Czech Republic should start raising its defence spending. Currently, it accounts for just over 1 percent of GDP, but Prague pledged to spend at least 2 percent of its GDP on defence when it entered the alliance.

"The combat capability, modern approach, quality training and safeguarding of collective defence must be taken for granted," Belobradek said, describing the Christian Democrats' military priorities.

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