NEWS BRIEFS

Minister: NATO brings benefits

SLOVAKIA's Defence Minister Juraj Liška thinks that Slovakia had a successful first year as a NATO member. He said the advantages of membership outweigh the disadvantages, the TASR news agency reported.

During celebrations to mark Slovakia's first year in NATO, in Nitra on April 15, Liška said that Slovakia has become a trustworthy country for foreign investors, which is reflected in the influx of foreign direct investments.

"We are part of the most secure bloc in the world. We have 25 allies if needed and as a country we can draw grants from NATO," said Liška.

One of these grants, amounting to Sk1 billion (€25.4 million), is intended for the reconstruction of Sliač airport in Central Slovakia. "This airport will be used by the armed forces as well as by the civilian population," said the minister.

As a consequence of NATO membership, Slovakia does have to fulfil financial and operational commitments.

"To a greater extent than before, we are taking part in operations outside Slovakia and we have to pay compulsory contributions connected to our membership in the alliance," Liška said.

Last year the contribution reached Sk120 million (€3 million) and this year it will be Sk180 million (€4.5 million).

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