After nearly six months of negotiations, the government parties agreed to gradually increase the defence budget to 1.4 percent of GDP over the next six years (the recommended percentage within NATO is 2 percent). However, questions remain over how this will be reflected in real terms.
According to Deputy Defence Minister Jiří Borovec, the agreement relates to the economic figures for this year, rather than the GDP the Czech Republic will be recording by the turn of the next decade. However, his interpretation is not supported by the 28-member NATO alliance.
Defence Minister Martin Stropnický (ANO) said that the defence budget is set to rise by about CZK 2bn per year. But even this would not be enough to fulfil the agreed 1.4 percent of GDP target, even when applying a calculation based on this year’s GDP as advocated by deputy minister Borovec. If Stropnický’s interpretation is correct then the army would receive an additional CZK 10bn over the 2016-2020 period, amounting to a total of CZK 53.5bn. However, if this year’s GDP is taken as a benchmark, the resulting sum should actually be CZK 56.8bn and would be higher still with further economic growth. A defence and security consultant for the Social Democrats, Miloš Balabán, has calculated that six years from now the army could have as much as
CZK 70bn at its disposal.