Prague, March 28 (CTK) – The EU must have its own defence units to achieve strategic autonomy in tackling crises, and the Czech Republic supports the plan unless the EU defence duplicated the NATO structure, Deputy Foreign Minister Ivo Sramek said at a seminar in the Senate yesterday.

The seminar focused on Europe’s defence and security policy.

“European defence is something the EU has lacked so far. The EU must have if it wants to have strategic autonomy in tackling crises,” Sramek said.

Without a military force, the EU cannot be a full-fledged player in dealing with conflicts such as the wars in Syria and Iraq, Sramek said.

Regarding the migration accompanying these conflicts, this is a strategic interest of the EU, he said.

Sramek said the Czech Republic seeks an improvement in the EU’s capability of deploying its battle groups.

It is necessary to find a mechanism of their financing with EU money, since it is impossible for the costs of their operations to be only born by the member countries whose soldiers take part in the operations, Sramek said.

He said further projects that are vitally important for military operations must be implemented as well.

Radomir Jahoda, from the Defence Ministry’s defence policy and strategy section, also emphasised the need for the EU to have its own rapid reaction forces.

He, too, emphasised that “NATO remains the basic platform of collective defence.”

Without money, all plans will remain on the paper only, he said.

Most recently, the EU leaders declared the need to reinforce joint security and defence at the Rome summit on Saturday.

They pledged to cooperate with NATO, taking the situation of individual member countries and their legal commitments into account, since not all EU members are members of NATO.