NEWS IN SHORT

Slovakia’s air force to remain, number of soldiers to drop

SLOVAKIA will not lose its supersonic air fleet in coming years, contrary to what Defence Minister Lubomir Galko feared earlier this year. The country’s Security Council decided on July 13 that Slovakia will maintain its international military obligations, the TASR newswire reported.

SLOVAKIA will not lose its supersonic air fleet in coming years, contrary to what Defence Minister Lubomir Galko feared earlier this year. The country’s Security Council decided on July 13 that Slovakia will maintain its international military obligations, the TASR newswire reported.

The members of the Security Council were working with three models which were developed in the Strategic Defence Review. The council decided to combine two models to prevent the radical drop in expenditures that the defence department has faced since 2009. One of the models designed by the Defence Ministry, the one it called the optimal alternative, proposed that the budget of the ministry would gradually increase, but this proposal was completely scrapped by the Security Council.

The Security Council now aims to stabilise the defence department’s financing but did not make clear whether the budget target would remain at 0.98 percent of GDP, as it is in 2011, or whether it would rise to 1.1 percent of GDP, as proposed by the Defence Ministry, TASR wrote.

The Security Council conceded that the number of persons in the Armed Forces will need to be reviewed.

“This remains a subject of further negotiations but there will definitely be a reduction in the number of staff,” the spokesperson of the Defence Ministry, Ivan Rudolf, told TASR, adding that the country’s tank forces will definitely be ended.

Slovakia will keep its supersonic fleet, however, despite earlier warnings from minister Galko that scrapping it might be one of the adopted measures. The need to protect common air space was a primary consideration.

“In the coming years a common air space model will be considered, which would mean a fusion of several states,” Rudolf said, as quoted by TASR.

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