More than one hundred protestors took part in a demonstration on Prague's Wenceslas Square on Monday organised by the No to Bases Initiative, slamming Czech membership in NATO. Attendees called for the Czech Republic's immediate withdrawal, with some, like Communist MP Marta Semelová, calling NATO a "criminal organization". One activist, Jan Korál, said he would always oppose what he described as the "dictatorship of Messrs. Havel, Vondra, and Klaus" who he described as "sellouts".
Over 220,000 people attended the two-day NATO Days and Czech Army Air Force Days military show at the Mošnov airbase near Ostrava in North Moravia, a spokesperson for the organisers said. Over 155,000 turned out for the event on Saturday which is a one-day record. Visitors to the show, one of the biggest in the Central European region, could view such planes as a B-52 bomber and a multi-mission V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft from the United States and veteran Swedish models.
The Czech Army could deploy 900 soldiers within 48 hours if called on by the police to help deal with the refugee crisis, the chief of staff, Josef Bečvář, said at a NATO festival in Mošnov in the Moravian Silesian Region on Saturday. The minister of defence, Martin Stropnický, said the army would discuss joint training exercises, which should take place by the end of this month, with police representatives on Monday. Over 150,000 people attended the NATO Days show, which is a record.
A US military convoy has left the territory of the Czech Republic after crossing the country on its way from Bavaria to Hungary, where it will take part in NATO exercises. Some 150 vehicles carrying 550 American soldiers left a barracks in Vyškov near Brno in six waves on Monday evening before crossing the border into Slovakia, a Czech Army spokesman said.
A US military convoy is crossing the Czech Republic on Sunday on its way to a military exercise in Hungary. The Dragoon convoy counting 150 vehicles and 550 personnel is travelling from the US base at Vilsek in Bavaria via Plzen, Prague, Brno and Výškov where the soldiers will spend the night at Czech military barracks. The military exercise Brave Warrior is aimed at demonstrating NATO’s collective defence capabilities and strengthening European stability. Most of the exercise will take place in the Várpalota region in western Hungary. The series of drill will involve 1,800 troops from Slovakia, Ukraine, Slovenia, Romania, Croatia and the US.
The migrant crisis, the changing security environment and NATO’s role in addressing the challenges of the present day topped the agenda of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s talks with Czech top officials in Prague on Wednesday. The NATO Secretary General made it clear that while the migrant crisis called for an immediate reaction from the EU, NATO should primarily address the cause of the crisis in the Middle East and North Africa.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is on a two-day visit to the Czech Republic, met with Czech President Miloš Zeman at Prague Castle on Thursday. The main topic on their agenda was international terrorism. The Czech head of state also acquainted Mr Stoltenberg with his proposal for a UN resolution establishing an international anti-terrorism unit. Mr Zeman plans to present his proposal at a meeting of the UN General Assembly later this month. During the meeting at Prague Castle’s Throne Hall, the UN flag was hoisted by mistake instead of the NATO one. The president’s spokesman Jiří Ovčáček said after the meeting that it was an oversight, adding that he would further investigate the matter.
The short-term solution of the current migrants crisis is up to the European Union and not up to NATO, the chairman of the lower house of parliament Jan Hamáček said on Thursday after a meeting with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. Mr Hamáček said they had both agreed that NATO’s responsibility lay in seeking long-term solutions, namely in reinstating stability in countries in North Africa and the Middle East. The lower house head also informed Mr Stoltenberg about his plan to increase the Czech Republic’s defence budget to 1.4 percent of the country’s Gross Domestic Product.
NATO must adapt to the changes taking place in the security environment in its neighbourhood, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference after a meeting with a Czech government delegation on Wednesday, adding that the migration crisis requires an immediate reaction of the European Union. He also said NATO should concentrate on dealing with the causes of the crisis and on stabilising situation in the countries of the migrants’ origin. Mr Stoltenberg arrived in Prague on Wednesday for a two-day visit. On Thursday he is scheduled to meet with President Miloš Zeman.
Finance Minister and ANO leader Andrej Babiš has called on NATO to destroy human smugglers’ ships in the Mediterranean. In a press release issued on Wednesday, Mr Babiš said NATO should launch an operation similar to the Operation Ocean Shield launched against Somali pirates in August this year. He also suggested NATO should strengthen security on Turkey’s boarders. The Finance Minister said he wanted to discuss the topic with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who is scheduled to arrive in Prague on Wednesday afternoon for a two-day visit.