Visegrad Four must focus on defence - Czech PM Sobotka


15.05.2014 11:00

Bratislava - The Visegrad Four countries (V4, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) should increase their cooperation in defence, Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said at the international conference Globsec today.


Slovenský premiér Robert Fico (vlevo) a český premiér Bohuslav Sobotka se zúčastnili 15. května v Bratislavě mezinárodní konference Globsec. ČTK Koller Jan

Sobotka said NATO was the pillar of security of the central European region.

However, some countries have rather focused on foreign missions, not having paid sufficient attention to territorial defence, he added.

Defence spending was also falling in the Czech Republic, Sobotka said.

The developments in Ukraine have proven that the security situation in Europe can rapidly change, Sobotka said.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said he was for bigger presence of NATO troops on the alliance's eastern border.

According to the existing plans, the V4 countries are to form joint military units with 3,000-4,000 soldiers by 2016.

Sobotka said a joint operation of military equipment, training, education and purchases were a vision of the future.

"One can hardly think of efficient cooperation without joint exercises," he added.

The Czech defence spending fell by 23 percent from 2008 to 2013, which was one of the steepest declines within the alliance, Sobotka said.

The government will try to halt the fall in the budget for 2015, he added.

The Czech Republic considers NATO membership a fundamental pillar of its security policy and is prepared to fulfil all commitments ensuing from it, the Chamber of Deputies declared on Wednesday, meeting a proposal of Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO).

The vote reacted to Stropnicky's earlier statement that the Czech Republic did not support the permanent deployment of NATO soldiers on its soil. Stropnicky later backpedalled on his words.

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