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Germany’s influence will be rising, Czech defence minister says

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Prague, Jan 23 (CTK) – Germany’s influence in connection with Brexit and the change of the U.S. administration will be rising, Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky said yesterday and stressed the importance of NATO for the Czech Republic.
“In view of the international political developments, in view of the political developments in certain of our partner countries, I would like to stress that an operable, strong and dynamically developing defence alliance, or NATO, is the most important criterion,” Stropnicky said.
He said any challenging of this fact is risking the Czech Republic and its citizens’ security.
Stropnicky said he will be watching the first steps taken by the new U.S. administration after Donald Trump has assumed the post of president last Friday with curiosity and impatience.
Trump has made some strongly critical statements about NATO.
“We are in a new situation also because negotiations about Brexit will start soon,” Stropnicky said.
He stressed the importance of the strategic partnership between the United States and Britain. He added that he hopes that nothing will change in this respect.
“In view of all these connections, I believe that the importance of the German Federal Republic will be rising,” Stropnicky said.
He praised the fact that the Czech Republic and Germany are bound by strategic partnership.
Stropnicky said he comprehends Trump’s call for European allies to spend more money on defence. He said similar statements were also made by former president Barack Obama and NATO head Jens Stoltenberg.
According to existing agreements, allies should give 2 percent of GDP to defence. The Czech Republic now earmarks about 1 percent for it.
However, Stropnicky said the Czech Republic is one of few countries that have “robustly” changed their attitude to spending on the military of late.

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