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Minister says Czech Army needs 30,000 professional soldiers

ČTK |
28 November 2016

Prague, Nov 27 (CTK) - Czech Defence Minister Martin Stropnicky (ANO) wants the military to have at least 30,000 professional soldiers and 5000 reservists in the future and that the current goal of 27,000 professionals is low, he said in the Questions of Vaclav Moravec on Czech Television (CT) on Sunday.

"We must adjust the plans of our predecessors accordingly," Stropnicky said.
However, it is not possible to manage this by 2025, Stropnicky said.

He said it will also depend on the situation on the market. In the regions with a higher unemployment rate, interest is bigger, he said.

Stropnicky said this year's recruitment goal is 2000 people and that 2200 people have shown interest by September. "There is interest in working with the military," he said.

According to the data from the beginning of this year, there were about 22,000 professional soldiers, 6400 civilian employees and some 1100 civil servants according to the service law.

Stropnicky said it will not be easy for any NATO member country to raise defence spending to 2 percent of GDP, which they should contribute to the joint defence.

He said he considers the annul raising of defence spending by 10 percent reasonable.
If the Czech Republic continues raising defence spending at the current pace, it will reach 2 percent of GDP in 2025.
Stropnicky said he believes that the pace could be faster.

The need to meet NATO requirements started to be talked about after Donald Trump was elected new U.S. president earlier this month. Before the election, he challenged cooperation within NATO and said the allies should contribute more to their security.

Communist (KSCM) chairman Vojtech Filip, who also took part in the CT discussion, said it is not possible to set aside money only because there is a commitment to raise spending.

It is necessary to know what the money will be used for and whether it will serve the security of citizens of the Czech Republic, Filip said.

He said the Czech military does not know this.
Stropnicky would not speculate about whether Turkey could be expelled from NATO because of the development after the summer abortive coup.

He said the expulsion is the extreme alternative and that he would be very much unhappy if this happened.

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