Defence minister warns against cuts in defence spending

Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar has warned against cuts in defence spending in view of heightened expenditures incurred by the coronavirus crisis.

Speaking at a meeting of chief army and government representatives on Tuesday, the minister said the budget cuts resulting from the 2008/2009 economic crisis had seriously undermined the military's ability to defend the state from external attack adding that such a mistake must not be repeated.

He made the statement in reference to an ongoing dispute over the 2021 state budget, in which the Communist Party has conditioned its support for the government-proposed budget on cuts in defence spending to the tune of ten billion crowns. The amount earmarked for defence next year is 85.4 billion crowns.

The commander-in-chief of the Czech Armed Forces, President Miloš Zeman expressed support for the army's demands, stressing the need to involve the Czech armaments industry as much as possible.