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Interior Ministry wants further raising of its 2017 budget

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Prague, Sept 19 (CTK) – The Czech Interior Ministry wants its draft budget for 2017 to be raised by another 1.1 billion crowns, 600 million of which would go to the fight against terrorism and the rest to the purchase of weapons, protective means, IT, cars and equipment, its representatives said on Sunday.

Reacting to the above demand by Interior Minister Milan Chovanec (Social Democrats, CSSD), Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said he considers it unrealistic.

“I think it is unrealistic as minister [Chovanec] previously received [an additional] one or 1.3 billion crowns for tackling migration. His ministry’s budget was increased considerably…,” Babis said.

The current 2017 state budget bill, completed by the Finance Ministry, projects the Interior Ministry’s budget at 63 billion crowns.

The cabinet is to vote on the final shape of the budget on Wednesday.

Babis said he considers individual ministries’ budgetary demands settled now that a series of his summer separate meetings with the ministers is over.

“However, ministers are coming up with demands that have a political nature in my opinion. It seems to me that the CSSD tends to politicise the issue and demands things [additional budget increases] that are actually unnecessary,” Babis said.

Police President Tomas Tuhy told the press conference on Sunday that the police want to buy only the most urgently needed acquisitions. Money would mainly go to special units and will also be spent on the equipment of the officers patrolling in the streets.

The police want to spend 160 million crowns on weapons such as assault rifles, submachine guns and sniper rifles, Tuhy said.

Eighteen million are to be invested in the purchase of protective means including ballistic shield and pyrotechnical objects.

The rest of the sum designed for anti-terror fight, 422 million crowns, would go to the purchase of special technical equipment and cars, Tuhy said.

Firefighters said they need 150 million crowns more next year to upgrade their equipment they need for interventions related with terrorism.

“If a terrorist attack occurred on Czech territory, our units would be the first to intervene there,” said Firefighter Corps director Drahoslav Ryba.

He said the firefighters need money to buy equipment for the liquidation of chemical, toxic or radioactive substances.

The Interior Ministry wants 150 million crowns for the reconstruction of its buildings that are in a poor technical condition, Chovanec said.

In addition, the ministry wants 200 million crowns for insulation of buildings, Chovanec said.

He said he expects a debate on the additional budgetary demands to be held between him and Babis before the cabinet meeting.

Babis did not rule out such a meeting.

“We must find out what the situation is like. Wednesday is the last day for us to reach agreement on the budget bill,” Babis said.

The CSSD has eight seats, ANO six seats and the Christian Democrats (KDU-CSL) three in the 17-seat centre-left government.

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