Prague, Aug 12 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry’s budget is to rise by about three billion crowns in 2016, which will be spent on the tackling of migration and on the development of the police and firefighters’ corps, Interior Minister Milan Chovanec said after meeting Finance Minister Andrej Babis Wednesday.
Out of the additional sum, over one billion will be spent on solving the refugee crisis and the rest will go to the police and firemen, Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD) said.
The Interior Ministry’s budget for 2015 is 55.1 billion crowns.
The original draft 2016 state budget, submitted by Babis (ANO) in June, proposed the ministry’s budget of 55.83 billion crowns.
Chovanec previously demanded a four-billion crown increase against this year’s budget. He wanted 2.6 billion for the police and firemen, and 1.5 billion to help tackle migration-related issues.
The 2016 budget bill debate is to continue in September, before the bill is approved by the cabinet and submitted to the Chamber of Deputies.
Based on the Chovanec-Babis agreement Wednesday, two billion crowns can be spent on recruiting new police and firemen raising the police and firemen’s pay and modernising their equipment next year, Chovanec said.
The sum enables the recruitment of 800 new police and 200 firefighters next year, which will cost about 650 million crowns, he said.
In the four years to come, the police and firefighters’ staff is to increase by 4000 and more than 800 officers, respectively.
“We believe that we will definitely reduce the security risks we are faced with,” said Police President Tomas Tuhy.
About 1.1 billion crowns will be spent on solving the migration crisis next year, when up to 7,000 refugees are expected to enter the Czech Republic.
The money will mainly be used to extend the capacity of some of the local refugee camps by adding 1200 beds. Further money will be spent on the pay of the staff dealing with migration, Chovanec said.
He said the Czech tackling of the refugee crisis might cost up to two billion crowns in 2016. The lacking sum could be provided from the Finance Ministry’s reserve chapter, he added.
Further millions of crowns will be used to finance the register of contracts and the expenses linked to civil service.
Babis and Chovanec have failed to agree on the sum of 600 million crowns the Interior Ministry requires as a source to finance the projects that were previously financed by the EU, such as the CzechPoint service.
Nor did Babis nod to Chovanec’s demand of an additional 200 million crowns for the ministry’s operational costs.
“I consider this the first round of negotiations. If I had not experienced the [budget] talks last year, I’d have been annoyed now,” Chovanec said.
Babis said he considers the Interior Ministry a priority because of the refugee crisis.
“I think the minister [Chovanec] may be satisfied [with the result of the talks Wednesday],” Babis told journalists.
He and Chovanec also agreed on enhancing the Interior Ministry’s budget for 2015, which was previously set at 55.1 billion crowns, by additional 140 million crowns and 30 million crowns to be spent on migration and on the pay of firemen, respectively.
Czech firefighters have been intervening against a record number of fires amid the drought that has been tormenting the Czech Republic for several weeks now.