Sunday, 16 September 2018

Czechs to offer new defence projects to EU partners

ČTK |
7 March 2018

Brussels, March 6 (CTK) - The Czech Republic wants to offer at least three new projects to its EU partners for the starting Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO), Defence Minister Karla Slechtova told journalists after the meeting of EU defence ministers on Tuesday.

The defence ministers have confirmed the start of the first 17 projects. There will be the beginning of working talks on their specific form.

In addition, the countries are thinking of a further stage of the collaboration. Here, Prague would like to "run" as the leading country with at least three proposals of its own, Slechtova said.

They are to relate to the sharing of training capacities of the Vera passive surveillance systems, the training with chemical combat substances and the sharing of capacities for the training of pilots of jet planes.

The partners will have the Czech proposals in April or May and the decision on the second stage of PESCO will be made by the ministers this November.

The EU countries agreed on the permanent defence cooperation after years of postponement last December.

Interest has been expressed by 25 out of the 28 current members of the EU, including the Czech Republic.

It is yet too soon to provide details of the 17 defence projects which were approved on Tuesday, Slechtova said.

"After today's approval, the individual countries will start negotiating on the details," she added.

"We have offered our equipment and personnel," Slechtova said.

The PESCO concept is to coordinate defence capabilities of EU countries thanks to which they can specialise on some spheres and their capabilities can complement one another.

It also envisages the obligation of higher defence spending.

High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini said sufficient sources were needed to implement the high degree of ambitions.

Slechtova said sufficient means on defence expenditures should be found in the next EU several-year financial framework.

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