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Czech prevision for Defense budget in 2015: disappointment

Published : 6 May 2014
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Eastern Ukraine is ablaze and the conflict could destabilize Central Europe, if not the whole Europe; NATO recently warned the Czechs that with their current defense spending, they might have some trouble to assume their commitments towards the Alliance; even Chuck Hagel, the US Secretary for Defense, expressed the same concern to his Czech counterpart Martin Stropnický during a meeting last week in Washington.

And what is the answer of the Czechs to address this problem? Raising the defense budget? No way!!! They cut further in the defense expenditures!!!

Effectively, the Finance Minister Babiš unveiled the project of budget for 2015 and the allocation for the Defense Ministry should be cut by 530 million Czech crowns (about 19.6 million €) passing from 41.85 billion CZK in 2014 to 41.32 billion CZK (about 1.53 billion €) in 2015.

This fact is confirming that political promises are only wishful thinking. All the Czech political leaders, including Premier Sobotka and even Mr. Babiš, agreed, during a conference organized in March to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the Czech adhesion to NATO, that the Defense budget is too low and that it should be raised to a level of 50 billion CZK.

The Czech Armed Forces are on the verge of pauperization, they are facing problems to modernize a huge part of their armament, the lack of personnel is so dramatic that they are obliged to reinforce units that have to be NATO certified with people from other battalions (this kind of process, when talking about vehicles, is known as cannibalization). The Czech Chief of Defense Staff, general Pavel, is crying in the wilderness when he repeatedly warns the local political elites that he will not be able to maintain all the capabilities with the current budget.

This kind of behavior reminds me a famous French song "Tout va très bien, Madame la Marquise" where a Lady, calling back home, gets such an answer that "All is fine... even if her favorite horse died, the stables burnt, the castle is on fire, her husband killed himself because the family is ruined!!!". And I can’t resist, as a lullaby for my dozing Czech friends, giving you a link for this song (lyrics in French with English subtitles) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rdLU...

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