V4 battlegroup is on standby

THE BATTLEGROUP of the Visegrad Group (V4) countries started its half-year standby within the European Union on January 1.

Illustrative stock photoIllustrative stock photo (Source: SME)

This means that based on the decision of the EU member states it may be deployed in any area within 6,000 kilometres from Brussels for a 30-day mission. It may be extended to 120 days if necessary, the Pravda daily reported.

The problem, according to a security analyst, is that the EU Battlegroup has not been deployed yet.

The V4 battlegroup is composed of nearly 3,000 soldiers. Poland provides 1,800 soldiers, while Slovakia contributes with 560 soldiers, the Czech Republic 728 and Hungary 640, as reported by Pravda.

Part of the battlegroup is also the headquarters in Krakow, Poland, which will be activated if the soldiers are deployed on a mission. During the standby the troops will fulfil ordinary training tasks. After the standby is over, they will return to their standard tasks within the Slovak army, said Štefan Zemanovič, spokesperson for the Slovak Armed Forces, as reported by the SITA newswire.

Security analyst Jaroslav Naď of the Slovak Security Policy Institute considers the EU Battlegroup project excellent. The only problem is that it has not yet been actively utilised.

“The costs of the deployment amount to €150-200 million,” Naď told Pravda, adding that every participating country would have to pay one quarter, which would be “a big sum” for the Slovak Defence Ministry.

The EU Battlegroups could have been sent to Georgia, Mali or Sudan in the past, but in the end the EU member states dealt with the situation on their own. France, for example, deployed its soldiers in Mali. If such a battlegroup is not used, it is useless, Naď added.

The V4 Battlegroup will be on standby again in 2019, SITA wrote.

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