The Czech Republic's defence spending could reach 2 per cent of gross domestic product (GDP) by 2024, a year earlier than previously planned, Prime Minister Petr Fiala said here.
According to Fiala, it will not be easy to reach this goal from the point of view of the budget and the Ministry of Defence's capacities.
This year, the Ministry manages a budget of 89 billion Czech crowns ($3 billion).
The Czech News Agency said if 2 per cent of the GDP is to be spent on defence in 2024, the budget would have to be raised "by some 30 billion crowns next year and again in the following year".
Fiala said that the Ministry has suffered from long-term underfunding, which has posed problems to the army's modernization schedule, but that his government has taken steps in recent months to move the process forward.
These include acquisition projects, such as talks with Sweden to acquire CV90 combat vehicles and with the US on the purchase of F-35 fighter jets.
In its policy statement unveiled in January, the government had promised to commit 2 per cent of GDP to defence spending by 2025.
As per a 2006 agreement, NATO members are obliged to spend 2 per cent of their GDP on defence in order to maintain the alliance's military readiness.
Delivered by CzechTrade team Canada