Praslavice, North Moravia, Oct 15 (CTK) – The budget of the Czech military spending should be increased given the terrorism threat and changes in the global security situation, Finance Minister Andrej Babis (ANO) said during a visit to a military unit yesterday.
At present, the Czech military is considerably underfinanced, Babis said.
By 2017, the military should have at least 52 billion crowns, which would be eight billion more than now, he added.
“It is important that the military budget be considerably increased due to terrorism and the new security situation in the world,” Babis said.
“There is a shortage of 5,000 soldiers. A large part of the equipment I could see here should be in a military museum,” he added.
“I saw some equipment that is over 50 years old. I saw some weapons over 50 years old,” Babis said.
In recent years, the Czech Republic has been spending about 1 percent of its GDP on its military, although it pledged to spend 2 percent when entering NATO in 1999,
Last year, the coalition government promised to increase the sum to 1.4 percent of GDP by 2020.
Babis said he would inform Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) about his findings.
“I will try to find out how the Defence Ministry distributes the money. I want to see the relation between the costs of officials and soldiers,” Babis said.
“We need money for soldiers. I hate to see that here they have no money even for their outfit. They have three pairs of socks per year,” he added.
Babis said in all, the soldiers lacked 120 billion crowns for the necessary investments and operational costs.
“It will be necessary to increase the budgets for 2017 and 2018. The military must be given a priority,” he added.
Chief of staff Josef Becvar agreed with Babis.
“The prediction is positive. If there is an increase, we will be happy,” Becvar said.
In 2018 alone, the military would like to rearm its armoured personnel carriers.
As the existing weaponry has been used since 1984, it is obsolete now, Becvar said.
“The mortars are obsolete, too. We also need to replace other infantry weapons,” Becvar said.
Under the Czech Republic’s commitments in NATO, its armed forces should have 5,000 soldiers more than they have now.
The numbers of the soldiers are to reach the required level by 2020, Becvar said.
($1=23.762 crowns)