Czech leaders discuss new US defense deal, upcoming NATO summit

President Petr Pavel, Prime Minister Petr Fiala, and opposition leader Andrej Babiš met on Friday to discuss foreign policy and national security. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 03.06.2023 09:50:00 (updated on 03.06.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Czech President Petr Pavel met with Prime Minister Petr Fiala and opposition leader Andrej Babiš on Friday as part of the president's plan for his first 100 days in office. The trio discussed the new defense agreement between the United States and the Czech Republic, among other matters, Pavel told journalists after the meeting.

The main topic of the meeting was foreign policy and national security, Pavel noted. Regarding the defense agreement with the US, Pavel agreed with both Fiala and Babiš that it should be presented in a very fair and detailed manner.

Babiš noted that his ANO party does not yet have a position on the new defense agreement. He added that in his opinion, it was important to address misinformation about the agreement that had spread on social media.

The Czech government approved the new defense agreement with the United States at the end of April, but it still needs to be passed by both chambers of parliament and signed by Pavel.

Another topic of discussion was the upcoming NATO summit in Vilnius in July. The Czech leaders specified their key points for the summit, including to what extent it will focus on strengthening NATO's defense capabilities, how this will be reflected in the Czech Republic, and what support for Ukraine will look like in the coming months.

Fiala noted that it was necessary to have a dialogue between the main political players on the strategic direction of the Czech Republic. If the Czech Republic is to be a significant player in foreign policy, he said, it must speak with a unified voice. "We are only as strong externally as we are united in our country," he said.

Babiš, who met with Pavel separately for about half an hour before the joint meeting, said the meeting covered the current situation in Europe, the Schengen area, EU expansion, and NATO. All three have the same or similar views in this regard, according to Babiš.

"I am glad that the current government continues the foreign policy orientation of our country, and today we had the opportunity to confirm this," Babiš told journalists after the meeting.

The former prime minister also noted that the EU must not forget about the Western Balkan countries when negotiating its expansion, as it had promised them the prospect of membership. Babiš said that Fiala felt the same way.

All three leaders described the meeting on Friday as peaceful and fact-based. They did not set specific dates for further meetings, but will look for key topics for negotiation, with the current energy situation being a possibility.

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