Defence Ministry's 2020 budget to rise by 1.2 billion crowns | info.cz

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Defence Ministry's 2020 budget to rise by 1.2 billion crowns

Defence Ministry's 2020 budget to rise by 1.2 billion crowns
 

The Czech Defence Ministry's budget for 2020 will be raised by 1.2 billion crowns compared to the planned sum to 75.5 billion in total, Defence Minister Lubomir Metnar agreed with Finance Minister Alena Schillerova (both for ANO) yesterday. The additional finances will go to investments, Metnar told reporters.

According to the budget outlook for next year, the Defence Ministry should get 800 million crowns more. This year's defence budget is 66.7 billion crowns. Metnar negotiated with Schillerova about the budget for one hour.

"The talks were very constructive and detailed. I am leaving them pleased, since the Defence Ministry's budget will be raised by 1.2 billion crowns," he told reporters after the meeting.

The Defence Ministry plans to use this sum for investments. "We will continue in our planned strengthening and upgrading of the military," Metnar said.

The money will be spent on the significant modernisation projects, such as the purchases of helicopters and infantry combat vehicles, he added.

Schillerova also called the talks with Metnar constructive. She said she considered the result a good compromise to lead to the Czech commitments in NATO "by small steps."

According to the draft 2020 state budget, which the coalition government of ANO and the Social Democrats (CSSD) approved, the Defence Ministry was to get 74.3 billion crowns, 7.6 billion more than this year's budget, but two billion less than the budget outlook for next year.

The Defence Ministry still faces the consequences of the budget cuts from the times of the economic crisis. The military often uses outdated equipment that is tens of years old, and would need dozens of billions of crowns to buy the new one.

The Czech Republic has repeatedly pledged to allocate 2 percent of its GDP to defence by 2024. At present, it gives some 1.2 percent and is among the NATO member states spending the lowest GDP share on defence. Critics of the defence funding have expressed fears that the budget rise is not sufficient for the country to meet its NATO commitments.

Metnar dismissed the warning that the NATO commitments would not be met. He said the budget was heading towards the promised 1.4 percent of the GDP in 2021 and 2 percent in 2024, according to analyses.

The Czech Association of the Defence and Security Industry (AOBPA) reacted to the budget talks by a call on the government to take legislative steps to stabilise the defence budget and fix it in the long run.

"Since the government does not reckon with the real needs of expenditures on the Czech Republic defence capability in 2020 either," AOBPA President Jiri Hynek told CTK today.

"We have repeatedly ended up in the situation where the planned spending for the following years are mere promises without a guarantee of their fulfilment," he noted.

Hynek warned that the defence sector might lack some 20 billion crowns in the next three years. This is why the AOBP demands that the defence spending of 2 percent of the GDP be enacted.

 
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