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Military to get CZK 47.5 billion next year

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Prague, Aug 12 (CTK) – The Czech Defence Ministry’s budget is to rise to 47.5 billion crowns next year, Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) told reporters after a meeting with the ministry’s officials Wednesday.

The military will get 1.5 billion more than originally proposed. However, the Defence Ministry demanded an additional 2.1 billion crowns.

“They have received 1.5 billion crowns more, mainly for new staff – 1,200 new soldiers and service personnel. The costs of them are naturally enormous. The defence budget has been considerably increased on the whole as we have promised,” Babis said after a meeting with two deputy defence ministers and Chief-of-Staff Josef Becvar.

According to the original proposal, the Defence Ministry would get 46 billion crowns.

After the first round of talks held at the beginning of summer, Babis raised the sum to 47 billion. However, Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) demanded additional finances.

The government coalition of the Social Democrats (CSSD), ANO and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) agreed last year that the military budget should amount to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2020 from the present about 1 percent. However, the Czech Republic pledged to earmark 2 percent of GDP for defence on its NATO entry in 1999.

Stropnicky said as a result, the defence budget should be 53 to 54 billion crowns in 2017 and 60 to 61 billion in 2018.

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