World

Czech government approves bill to spend 2% of GDP on military


PRAGUE — The Czech government on Wednesday approved a bill to bring defense spending to NATO’s required target of 2% of gross domestic product as Russia’s war in Ukraine continues.

Defense Minister Jana Cernochova said the move would “ensure stable and transparent financing for major strategic defense projects in the future”.

Cernochova said the war in Ukraine “has made it clear that we must be ready for present and future conflicts and that is why rapid modernization of the military is essential. ”

Although the Czech Republic will spend only 1.52% of GDP on defense this year, the 2% target will be reached by 2024 after the bill is passed in parliament where the governing coalition has a majority in both. institute.

NATO members agreed in 2014 to commit to a 2% spending target by 2024. Currently, only 9 out of 30 members of the Western military alliance meet or exceed that goal. .

The United States, which supplies the majority of NATO forces, has long complained that some of its European allies are not convincing enough.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the modernization of the Czech military with a plan to buy new weapons worth billions of euros. The Czech Republic has negotiated with the United States the possibility of buying 24 F-35 fighter jets and with Sweden to buy 210 CV90 armored vehicles.

Czechia is a staunch supporter of Ukraine, donating Soviet-era weapons to Ukrainian forces, including tanks. It has also issued nearly 475,000 visas to Ukrainian refugees giving them access to healthcare, financial assistance, work permits and other benefits.

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