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Senior officials ready to raise defence budget

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Prague, Aug 28 (CTK) – Czech Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka and Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky agreed today on the need to increase the military budget for 2018 and until 2020 when the military is to have at least 1.4 percent of GDP at its disposal, Sobotka has told journalists.

The military is having problems with its acquisitions, but its arms are improving, Sobotka (Social Democrats, CSSD) said after a meeting during which they assessed the past four-year term of office at the ministry.

Sobotka said his government had taken up office at the time the security situation in the world and Europe itself had considerably deteriorated.

He said it was a good thing that the government had decided to increase the defence budget, highlighting the Czech Republic’s participation in the struggle against terrorism.

Sobotka wants to meet all the government members and assess their work. Stropnicky (ANO) is the fifth to have been evaluated by him.

The meetings are to result in a report for the voters describing what was fulfilled from the government manifesto. The government members are also to outline recommendations for their successors.

Stropnicky said today when it came to the defence, all the promises had been fulfilled.

All the started acquisition projects will not be finished by the end of this election term, but the successors to the current government should continue with them, he added.

Stropnicky said he wanted them to observe the planned rise in the defence budget so that it reached 1.4 percent of GDP by 2020.

The general election is due on October 20-21.

The Czech Republic should be still active in the fight against terrorism and Islamic State, he added.

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