Shameful if Czechs Fail NATO Pledge of 2%: Defence Minister Slechtova

Munich, Feb 17 (CTK) – It would be shameful for the Czech Republic if it did not fulfil the 2 percent objective of its defence budget, it pledged to observe within NATO, Defence Minister Karla Slechtova told journalists at the Munich security conference today.


The Defence Ministry must be planning much better than until now, said Slechtova who is also from Prime Minister Andrej Babis’s ANO as her predecessor Martin Stropnicky


“We have pledged to reach 1.4 percent of the GDP by 2020. At the moment, I can tell you that the figures are not leading towards this. This is why I will make my utmost to fulfil the promise of 2 percent by 2024 because it would be shameful if this did not happen,” Slechtova said.


The NATO countries that failed to fulfil the objective agreed in 2014 that in the next decade, they would try to reach it.


Last year, the Czech Republic only spent some 1.1 percent of its GDP on defence purposes. Observers say it will be very difficult for it to meet its commitments.


“I believe that the Czech Defence Ministry, including the general staff, have to plan much better. It is not enough just to say yes, we will reach something, without having a certain process, a certain time-table,” Slechtova said.


She said the Czech Republic might also include development aid in its defence spending.


NATO specifications do not reckon fully with this, but “I presume that it would help us very much in order to reach the 2 percent,” she added.


German politicians have repeatedly spoken about this approach, but the USA stresses that development aid should not be included in the defence spending.


However, since the Czech Republic only donated 0.1 percent of its GDP on the purpose in 2016, this would not help it much.