The armies of Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland proved to be instrumental during the recent coronavirus epidemic, defence ministers of the group concluded, warning that it would be a mistake to reduce military spending with regard to the economic impact of the virus, at a meeting in Prague.
“The Hungarian government’s position is clear: the coronavirus epidemic will not impact development of the Hungarian military”, Defence Minister Tibor Benkő told a joint press conference held after the conference.
Participants in the meeting agreed that they would continue a joint project aimed at ammunitions purchases through a NATO agency, Czech Defence Minister Lubomír Metnar, the host of the meeting, said. “Cooperation within the V4, including providing assistance to one another, was working well during the epidemic,” Metnar said.
The ministers touched upon the Visegrad countries’ planned Battlegroup, to be set up by 2023, and to which each country could contribute 300-600 troops, the Czech minister said.
Participants also agreed to make changes to a strategy concerning the Visegrad Group’s defence development cooperation to meet new challenges. “An army needs up-to-date capabilities to meet challenges at any time,” Benkő said, but added that defence research and development must be coupled with maintaining traditional capacities.
Benkő welcomed Visegrad plans to broaden their cooperation with countries such as France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States.