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April 23, 2015

Visegrad Group countries want common airspace

Czech defense minister calls it a crucial project; laws and technology need to be harmonized

Tomášov, Slovakia, April 23 (ČTK) — Hungary, Poland, Slovakia and the Czech Republic want to form common protection of their skies, the defense ministers of the four countries associated within the Visegrad Group (V4) agreed today.

“We have prepared the basis for the creation of a single ski of the Visegrad Group countries. We will propose that the prime ministers assign this task to the defense ministers,” Slovak Defense Minister Martin Glváč said.

Glváč said the four prime ministers would discuss the plan at their talks in June.

Czech Defense Minister Martin Stropnický said he considers the common skies a crucial project.

Glváč did not say when the common airspace protection would be launched.

He said legislation and technologies must be harmonized, and air bases and logistics must be developed.

Slovakia and the Czech Republic have already agreed to protect their airspace together.

Stropnický said the Czech Republic was ready to protect the Slovak airspace if Bratislava asked for it.

Slovakia is planning to replace its obsolete Soviet-made MIG-29 fighter planes. This is why it has started negotiating with Sweden about the lease of its Gripen fighters, also used by the Czech military.

“After the Slovak government makes the decision on its supersonic fighters in the future, the Czech Republic will be ready to react by collaborating in the training and passing of experiences,” Stropnický said.

In their joint statement, V4 defense ministers said Russia’s aggressive steps towards Ukraine and its provocations near NATO’s eastern border had considerably changed the security situation in Central Europe.

The V4 countries have pledged to keep increasing security in Ukraine through military training and humanitarian aid.

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