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Minister: PESCO is chance for Czech defence industry

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Brussels, Dec 11 (CTK correspondent) – The start of the Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) project is an opportunity for the Czech defence industry, outgoing Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek told journalists after the project was started on Monday.

“We are really at the beginning. Let us take some time to find out what is the best for us in this,” Zaoralek said.

The moment of a search for the ways in which the Czech defence industry will join European plans has come. In the past, this was rather a failure, Zaoralek said.

Foreign ministers of 25 EU countries confirmed the establishment of the PESCO on Monday.

At the same time, the first 17 joint projects were published. Diplomats say the Czech Republic will join three of them, relating to military mobility, the joint European medical sphere and a centre for EU training missions.

“Now this can be tried and we have much better conditions for this than before. I welcome PESCO as a chance for the Czech economy, the Czech industry,” Zaoralek said.

He said it was a good thing that the Czech Defence Ministry was actively looking for and submitting concrete projects.

Zaoralek will be succeeded by current Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO).

The Czech Republic is ready to take part in the project called “Simplification and Unification of Cross-Border Movement of Military Units,” that diplomats describe as a “military Schengen.”

An easier transfer of troops across Europe is also demanded by NATO, which wants to closely collaborate with the EU in this sphere.

The development of capabilities in the sphere of military health care is another project with Czech participation.

The Czech Republic will also take part in the project establishing a training centre for European training missions.

In the capacity of an observer, the Czech Republic is about to take part in another five projects.

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