Former Czech Prime Minister Andrej Babiš is skeptical of proposals to establish a U.S. military base in the country, and has called for a public vote on the matter.
“We do not support it. I find it unnecessary,” Babiš told his social media followers. “I assume that this is a delicate topic, and it would be best to hold a referendum on it.”
Communists, members of the Freedom and Direct Democracy, and the Tricolor Citizens’ Movement are also against the proposal.
Babiš stated that he has no information about NATO desiring a U.S. base in the Czech Republic.
Minister of Defense Jana Černochová said on Friday that she would hold talks with her U.S. counterpart Lloyd Austin in the United States after Easter. According to Černochová, negotiations on the U.S. presence in the Czech Republic are also at stake and she wants to bring up that topic in the meeting as well.
The U.S. base in the Czech Republic could be in Přerov or Mošnov, said Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Labor and Social Affairs Marian Jurečka on Sunday. The Ministry of Defense said on Sunday evening that specific locations are not being discussed.
Babiš noted that the NATO strategy has been to build defense systems along the eastern border of NATO and questioned the viability of building up a base in the Czech Republic when Czechia already helps building bases in Slovakia.
‘Generally, I say yes to the U.S. base,’ Svoboda said.
Former foreign ministers, who attended the first day of the conference of the Institute of International Relations entitled “Multilateral Czechia” received a question from the iDNES.cz news outlet about the possibility of a U.S. military base in the Czech Republic.
“Every additional presence of the United States on the territory of an allied state increases the real interest of the United States in that country, so in general I say yes, but I do not know the specifics yet,” said former Foreign Minister Cyril Svoboda.
Former Foreign Minister for the Social Democrats Lubomír Zaorálek called the debate premature, adding that he thinks that Mrs. Černochová is traveling to the United States without discussing the matter with anyone. According to Zaorálek, the transformed strategy against Russia will have to contain a new air defense doctrine from which tasks for individual member states will derive.
The chairman of the Freedom and Direct Democracy party (SPD) Tomio Okamura rebuked the idea and unequivocally refused the presence of any foreign military on Czech territory, demanding a referendum on the matter.
“We support the modernization of Czech military and a change in strategy of our army towards the defense of our territory and citizens instead of its current usage as an expeditionary force for foreign missions,” stated Okamura on Sunday on his Facebook account.