The Czech Republic should spend 2 percent of its GDP on defense in 2024, which demonstrates Czech meeting its 2-pecent spending goal a full year before it originally planned, Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala stated after Saturday’s meeting with an expert team that included President Miloš Zeman.
“The expert team of the president of the republic, with the participation of the prime minister, discussed economic issues and foreign policy with an overlap with the energy and food crisis,” said Jiří Ovčáček, the presidential spokesman.
Fiala reiterated that he would represent Zeman at the June NATO summit in Madrid. The participants also talked about the issues of the upcoming Czech presidency of the Council of the EU, the Russian aggression in Ukraine, and energy security.
“We would like one of the topics to be Ukraine’s post-war reconstruction, which of course presupposes a peaceful situation in Ukraine,” the prime minister noted. He also identified energy security and the energy policy of the entire Czech Republic as crucial issues.
Foreign Minister Lipavský was absent from the meeting
According to Fiala, even those European countries that did not initially subscribe to their alliance commitment of 2 percent of GDP have recently been discussing increasing defense spending. According to him, neutral Austria also plans to increase its spending.
The Czech Republic will spend two percent of its GDP in 2025 at the latest. However, the government is trying to achieve this goal as early as 2024. According to Fiala, however, it is not easy to increase military funding in such a short time.
Ministers usually attend the meetings with the presidential experts when the topics are related to their purview. Fiala, however, attended this meeting with the presidential team instead of the Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský. Zeman opposed the nomination of Lipavský to his position. Fiala stated that he promised to attend the meeting a long time ago and that he and Lipavský hold the same views regarding foreign policy issues.