Prague - Czech Prime Minister Sobotka's statement that an increase in U.S. military presence in Europe is not needed is quite unacceptable and irresponsible, Christian Democrat (KDU-CSL) leader Pavel Belobradek said in a press release today,
The Christian Democrats, junior coalition partners, consider the transatlantic link the basic component of security policy, Belobradek said.
The Czech Republic does not call for boosting NATO's military presence in Europe as it does not need it in view of the current security situation, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said earlier today.
He reacted to a statement by U.S. President Barack Obama who announced in Warsaw that the United States would boost its military presence in Europe.
Sobotka said some European countries, including Poland and Baltic nations, were turning to NATO with a request to increase the military presence at the continent, but the Czech Republic does not need anything like this.
"The Czech Republic is not and will not be among the countries to call for an increased presence of NATO troops in Europe," Sobotka said.
"I consider this statement that basically alters the Czech Republic's long-standing positions his personal view that was not discussed within the coalition," Belobradek said.
"It may seriously threaten relations within the Visegrad Four (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia), especially with Poland, but also with other allies within NATO, including the Baltic nations," he added.
"Feeling threatened, these countries are calling for an increased allied military presence there," Belobradek said.
"The Czech Republic itself does not have to have allied troops on its soil, but it must not reject the deployment of allied forces on the soil of its allies," he added.
The Czech Republic is uselessly risking its reputation, threatening its own security, Petr Fiala, leader of the opposition centre-right Civic Democratic Party (ODS), said.
"Unlike Sobotka, I believe that the boosting of NATO's units in Europe is desirable," Fiala said.
"I am far from scaring the public with a new Cold War. On the other hand, I can realistically see a worsening of the international situation," he added.
"NATO is a guarantee of our security. Those speaking differently endanger our country's secure future," Fiala said.