V4 Defence Ministers meet in Slovakia

Autor: Nuala Casey, Oldrich Holecek

At a regular defence ministers' meeting of the Visegrad Group (V4), ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary discussed upcoming joint activities for defence cooperation of the V4 countries. The meeting was held in the city of Tomasov, near Bratislava, on 23rd April.

Under the Slovak V4 Presidency, Slovak Minister of Defence Martin Glvac welcomed the Minister of Defence of the Czech Republic Martin Stropnicky, the Polish Minister of National Defence, Tomasz Siemoniak, and the Hungarian Minister of Defence, Csaba Hende.

Top of the agenda was the discussion on the ongoing contributions of the individual countries in implementing the Action Plan, which was adopted last year. The Ministers endorsed the development of the V4 Training and Exercise Strategy, along with the preparations for the creation of the joint V4 Battlegroup which will be operational under the Polish Presidency in the first half of 2016. The Czech Republic will provide 950 soldiers to the battle group. Ministers also confirmed that another battle group would be formed as a V4 permanent modular force from 2019, and should be a self-contained compact force ready to join either the NATO Response Force or the EU Rapid Reaction Force, if necessary.

Air defence was another important topic on the ministers’ agenda. ”The issue of joint air defence protection of the V4 countries requires our immediate attention and we have already completed a bilateral agreement with Slovakia, with a similar agreement being drawn up with Poland,” said Martin Stropnicky. Defence ministers agreed that the findings of an analysis conducted on joint V4 airspace defence protection, the aptly-named Cross-Border Operations (CBO), will be submitted for further consideration to the V4 Prime Ministers‘ Session at the end of June.

The V4 meeting also gave Minister Stropnicky the opportunity to introduce the new future Czech Chief of the General Staff, Lieutenant General Josef Becvar, who will assume the post next month.

The Visegrad Group was formed as a Central European alliance in the historical Polish city of Visegrad in 1991, and originally included three member countries, Czechoslovakia, Hungary and Poland. Its goal is to boost European integration and to enhance military, economic and energy cooperation of the member countries. After the partition of Czechoslovakia in 1993, the Visegrad Group became four with the newly formed countries of the Czech and Slovak Republic. All four countries joined NATO in 1999 and then the European Union in 2004.

April 28, 2015