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Possible deepening of the Czech-Slovak cooperation

Published : 1 November 2012
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On last 29th October, precisely one day after the 94th anniversary of the creation of the Czechoslovak republic, Czech and Slovak governments lead by Petr Nečas and Robert Fico, their respective Prime ministers, held a common session for the first time in the history of both countries. The most important topic of discussion of this meeting organized in Uherské Hradiště (Moravia) then in Trenčín (Slovakia) was the persistence of use of nuclear energy in Central Europe. However, the military field was not forgotten.

“We wish to go forward from a so-called simple cooperation to a real sharing of capabilities. From training and education, through logistic support, to end up with common battle groups in foreign operations” declared Petr Nečas during the press conference following the session.

In a separate meeting, Mr. Vondra and Glvač, the Czech and Slovak defense ministers, examined the ways further for a deeper military cooperation either in the field of capabilities or common acquisitions.

In a period of time where economic crisis is still striking hard, both countries are convinced that regional cooperation, in particular between them, who are closer thanks to a common history, is a solution potentially capable to slow down the loss of capabilities.

The two ministers signed a technical arrangement which will precise some fields of collaboration of the Agreement signed in Piešťany (Slovakia) in December 2011 and that is dedicated to bilateral cooperation in the military air traffic domain. This document is aimed at facilitating the exchanges in personnel education and training. A first Protocol of application was already signed on 15th December 2011 that transferred to the Czech Air Force the responsibility of evacuating the Slovak wounded from the operation theaters.

In the field of multinational cooperation, Slovaks are about to reinforce their participation to the Multinational Aviation training Center of Pardubice (MATS), project which was presented by Czechs during the last NATO Summit in May 2012 as a contribution to Smart Defense.

Ministers also signed a common invitation of NATO General Secretary Anders Fogh Rasmussen to the international exercise “Capable Logistician 2013” that will be organized from 3rd to 28th June 2013 in Lešť (Slovakia) by Prague’s Multinational Logistics Coordination Centre (MLCC). Logistics are, together with defense against weapons of mass destruction, helicopters and Special Forces, a domain where Czechs have decided to put forward their know-how.

Beyond the capabilities development, multinational cooperation also enables to cut down the acquisition price per piece of armament thanks to bigger contracts … as far as countries involved are able to agree on a common version. Ministers talked about the project of common acquisition of airport radars and mobile air defense radars (MADR) in order to create a unified radar pole.

This project was already tackled during a meeting in February 2012 between General Picek, the former Czech chief of Defense staff, and his newly nominated Slovak counterpart, General Vojtek. Both countries built special technical teams in order to solve the technical and legal problems linked with such a contract. During talks in “Visegrad Group” format, they also tried to enlist Poland and Hungary in this common project without too much success.

At the end of the meeting both delegations agreed to strongly support cooperation between Czech and Slovak companies belonging to Defense industry.