Permanent Delegation of the Czech Republic to NATO in Brussels

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NATO Ministerial in Brussels 18-19 April 2012

(This article expired 09.05.2013.)

Meeting of the NATO ministers took place in Brussels on 18th and 19th April 2012. The main topics were connected to the preparation of the Chicago summit in May and the situation in Afghanistan including the planned transition to be completed until 2014. Allies met in the so called “jumbo format” – joint ministers of foreign affairs and ministers of defense meeting.

The Czech Republic was represented by minister of foreign affairs, Karel Schwarzenberg, and minister of defense, Alexandr Vondra. Mr. Vondra signed together with his US counterpart, Leon Panetta, in the margins of the ministerial an important treaty, which would allow Czech companies to participate in the military tenders in the USA. The Czech Republics became one of only two tens of countries possessing such a treaty with the US.

The main topics of the ministerial were preparation of the upcoming NATO summit in Chicago and the situation in Afghanistan. The Alliance gradually transfers responsibility for the security in the country to the Afghans and this process should end by 2014. Allies discussed the form of NATO presence in Afghanistan in post-2014. A connected topic is also the financial sustainment of Afghan national security forces. The Afghan military and police should count to 380 thousand personnel at the end of 2014. The US have already indicated that a long-term sustainable number of Afghan security forces is around 230 thousand men.

NATO works on a new strategic approach, the so called Smart Defense. This concept stands on the idea that some important defense capabilities will be shared and financed jointly by Allies. This approach is cheaper and more efficient than when each country does so individually.

The Czech Republic together with three Visegrad countries (Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) presented a joint declaration indicating their future engagement in the NATO projects as well as their priorities within NATO.