Czechia joins European air-defense system

Fifteen countries sign agreement to bolster Europe's air defense spearheaded by Germany.

Thomas Smith

Written by Thomas Smith Published on 13.10.2022 11:23:00 (updated on 06.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

Amid continuing Russian aggression, 15 NATO states, including Czechia and Slovakia, have signed a declaration on joining and co-purchasing an anti-aircraft defense system, according to German Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht. 

In a speech made in Prague this August, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz spoke of his vision for the future of a fully democratic Europe.

According to him, insufficient air defense poses a threat, a reason why he encourages other EU countries to join the anti-missile umbrella project, ČTK reports. The project is informally known as the "European Sky Shield Initiative."

“Germany will plan this future air defense in a way to enable the involvement of its European neighbors, for example the Poles, the Baltic states, the Dutch, Czechs, Slovaks and our Scandinavian partners, if they are interested," Scholz mentioned.

The European states that want to share an air-defense system to protect against ballistic rockets and other air-based threats signed the relevant declaration on the sidelines of an ongoing meeting of EU defense ministers in the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

AGENCY PROPERTIES

The German media report that the country would like to model the defense system on the Israeli “Arrow 3.” German magazine Der Spiegel writes that one of the Israeli Arrow systems is likely to be purchased for this purpose. 

The use of U.S. anti-missile “Patriot” systems is also being considered by the signatory countries, although the systems are not designed for a large protective anti-missile umbrella, Der Spiegel mentions.

This week, France and the UK officially committed to sending radars, systems and missiles to Ukraine. French President Emmanuel Macron said that France "is intensifying its help in the wake of recent Russian airstrikes on Ukraine,” Politico writes.

The calls to bolster Europe’s air defense is likely caused by European leaders’ realization that state spending on air defense has been too low in recent years. From 1999 to 2021, EU combined defense spending increased by 20 percent. This is in stark contrast with a 66 percent rise for the U.S., and a 292 percent rise for Russia, according to the European Commission.

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