Czech PM Sobotka vows to stop military spending falling


20.05.2014 17:46

Caslav - The military spending should reach again 1.4 percent of GDP in the medium term, while 2 percent is not necessary, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) told journalists today.


Předseda vlády Bohuslav Sobotka (vlevo) navštívil 20. května 21. základnu taktického letectva v Čáslavi. ČTK Vostárek Josef

Sobotka said he would like the fall in defence spending to stop next year.

The Czech Republic is to reach the planned growth in the expenditures within five to six years, he added.

"In such a situation, the military is to be able to fulfil its allied obligations," Sobotka said.

He said the defence spending had fallen by 23 percent since 2005, which was a dramatic downturn.

The Czech Republic's defence spending has been falling in recent years. Currently, it amounts to about 1 percent of GDP.

The state budget bill for 2015 proposes another cut in the military spending of half a billion crowns, down to 41.3 billion crowns from 41.8 billion this year.

Sobotka said he would be happy if the fall were stopped next year.

"Evidently, there is a big internal debt, there is a large negligence in a number of spheres," he added.

Sobotka said the defence expenditure should start rising after this is enabled thanks to the budget situation.

The means should be spent in an efficient way, he added.

Costs can be also saved by cooperation with Slovakia in the protection of airspace that is now being discussed, Sobotka said.

The question of personnel, technological and financial stabilisation of the military is one of the priorities of the new coalition government, he added.

Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) was recently criticised by his U.S. counterpart Chuck Hagel for the Czech Republic only spending 1 percent of its GDP on the military, although it pledged to contribute 2 percent on account of its NATO membership.

U.S. representatives want European countries to be more active in NATO's joint defence.

($1=20.035 crowns)

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