Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Czech government to join PESCO defence project

ČTK |
12 October 2017

Prague, Oct 11 (CTK) - The government has approved the Czech Republic joining the preparations of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), State Secretary for European Affairs Ales Chmelar told journalists on Wednesday.

The government also gave a mandate to Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) for the next EU summit, scheduled for Brussels at the end of last week, Chmelar said.

The PESCO, that is to help create specific projects within joint European defence, will be officially started in December, he added.

The EU summit will be held next Thursday and Friday. EU leaders will discuss migration, digital Europe, defence and security as well as external relations, Chmelar said.

Before the meeting, Sobotka is to meet EC President Jean-Claude Juncker and other prime ministers of the Visegrad Four (also Slovakia, Poland and Hungary).

The government also approved the joining of the PESCO.

"We have announced our interest in taking part in this effort which will be officially activated at the European Council in December. By then, the Czech Republic will be prepared," Chmelar said.

This is an instrument thanks to which countries may create very specific defence policy projects for the protection of borders and solutions to conflicts by peace forces.

"This is a certain framework within which one can interconnect military and financial capacities so that Europe could proceed in a unified way," Chmelar said.

Next week, the European Council is also to evaluate the progress when it comes to the halt to illegal migration to the EU.

Chmelar said he did not expect any controversies in this sphere.

The digitation question, to be discussed, too, will follow up the summit held in Estonia in late September.

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