Lany, Central Bohemia, March 19 (CTK) – The Czech military budget is to rise by 4.5 billion crowns year-on-year, which corresponds to the needs and abilities to accomplish the planned investments, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky told reporters after a meeting of President Milos Zeman’s expert team on Sunday.
Last year, the Defence Ministry had a total of 49 billion crowns at its disposal.
Stropnicky (ANO) said the planned budget would give space to the development and upgrading of the military.
“There is nothing we urgently need and have no money for it,” he added.
The year-on-year rise of 4.5 billion crowns corresponds to the Defence Ministry’s ability to put up tenders for military purchases and invest the money.
“I welcome some changes to the law on public procurement since there is no longer the lowest price as the only criterion,” Stropnicky said.
He also pointed out the legislative changes, such as blacklists of applicants and procedure for the case of only one bidder in a tender.
By 2029, the military plans to purchase some 200 infantry fighting vehicles for the 7th armoured brigade. The first ones might be supplied in 2019.
Another big order in the following years will be the purchase of 49 guns, eight mobile 3D radars and 12 multipurpose helicopters.
With its entry to NATO in 1999, the Czech Republic pledged to earmark 2 percent of GDP for the defence budget, but at present it is about 1 percent only.
The government coalition of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) has agreed to increase the defence budget to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2020. In such a case, the Defence Ministry would have 72.86 billion crowns in 2020 if the annual Czech economic growth were 2 percent.
In 2015, 47.34 billion crowns were spent from the 48.96-billion defence budget.
Last year, the Defence Ministry had the approved budget of 44.4 billion, the remaining three billion were unspent expenditure from 2014, sources outside the budget and payments from the EU and NATO.