Czechia to increase its contribution to NATO budget

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CTK

01. 12. 2019 • 10:20

The Czech Republic will increase its annual contribution to the NATO budget from the current 580 million to 622 million crowns after the USA decided to lower its contribution and the member states agreed to make changes in the system of covering NATO´s costs, according to CTK's information.

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The NATO budget is roughly 2.5 billion U.S. dollars. According to CTK´s information, the Czech Republic promised to increase its contribution by nearly 10 percent. The government is yet to approve it.

The financing of NATO and the defence expenses of its individual member states will be one of the main issues discussed at the NATO summit that will be held in London on Tuesday and Wednesday.

President Milos Zeman will represent the Czech Republic at the summit and the Czech delegation will include Foreign Minister Tomas Petricek, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar and Czech ambassador to NATO Jakub Landovsky.

The summit will open on Tuesday with a royal reception in the Buckingham Palace and an informal dinner with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson will follow, Mariana Wernerova, from the Czech Foreign Ministry press section, said.

U.S. President Donald Trump, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron will be among the participants in the NATO summit.

Czech Presidential Office foreign department head Rudolf Jindrak told CTK that the summit was to originally only celebrate the 70 years of its existence, but due to the development of the security situation in the world the allied countries decided to put on the agenda other affairs as well.

The summit participants will thus negotiate about the financing of NATO, the situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East developments.

Jindrak said one of the main results of the summit meeting is to be the setting up of the group formed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg which should assess the NATO operation in future.

Representatives of each of the member countries will deliver a brief speech at the plenary session. Zeman said previously he would speak of the need to focus on fighting international terrorism. He said he would welcome it if NATO became more offensive and realise its real role in the contemporary world.

Zeman may also talk about defence spendings. He repeatedly said the Czech Republic should spend 2 percent of its GDP on defence, which NATO requires. The country spends about 1.2 percent of its GDP on defence at present.

Zeman previously noted that when he was Czech prime minister at the turn of the century, 2 percent were spent on defence, and that he could see no reason why it would not be possible now.

The Czech Republic promised to its allies that its defence spending would reach 2 percent in 2024.

Jindrak said it is expected that Trump would speak of the reduction of the number of American soldiers in Afghanistan. Zeman believes that NATO should not withdraw from Afghanistan because otherwise the country would turn into a terrorist base once again. The Czech military has about 250 troops in Afghanistan now.

Jindrak said the agenda of the Czech delegation was prepared by the Presidential Office together with the defence and foreign ministers. On Friday, the representatives of these three institutions presented the Czech position to foreign diplomats seated in Prague.

($1=23.233 crowns)

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