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Not all anti-terrorist measures carried out in 2016, due to finances

Slovakia drafted a set of anti-terrorist measures for the years 2016 and 2017, in the aftermath of last year’s terrorist attacks around Europe. However, some of the anti-terrorist measures have not been carried out on schedule so far, due to a lack of financial resources.

Memebrs of the Atlas anti-terrorist unit train in Lešť, Slovakia - illustrative stock photo(Source: Sme - Ján Krošlák)

Anti-terrorism measures should have been implemented by the Slovak Armed Forces, states a Slovak Armed Forces proposal outlining the organisational and personnel-based anti-terrorism measures for 2017-2018 that was acknowledged by the government on November 30.

The army was supposed to have 800 professional soldiers ready for the potential needs of the Police Corps as part of the measures, the TASR newswire cited the proposal. In order to comply with the plan, the Slovak Armed Forces planned to recruit 500 additional soldiers this year and 300 in 2017.

However, the army expects to recruit only 636 individuals this year – of whom 538 were enlisted for the needs of the military – due to the lack of €1.334 million in the Defence Ministry budget.

A new ISTAR (Intelligence, Surveillance, Target Acquisition and Reconnaissance) battalion will be involved in anti-terrorist operations. Currently undergoing training and preparations, the battalion will be ready for action at the end of 2017. Technical equipment for surveillance and reconnaissance work was supposed to be procured by the end of 2016, but this deadline has not been met due to the lack of finances. The ministry plans to procure the technical equipment and start training specialists within the next two years.

Experts predicted beforehand

Several analysts pointed out when the anti-terrorist measures were approved that the whole proposal had been elaborated in a time stress, without analyses and sufficient financial covering, head of the Slovak Security Policy Institute, Jaroslav Nagy, told the SITA newswire. Moreover, some of the proposed measures were reasonable and useful, while some only partially, he added. Their primary goal was political marketing before the general election, Nagy stressed, adding that the Slovak Armed Forces are continuously prepared for potential tasks they may face in anti-terrorist operations, be it at home or abroad.

The amount of finances to be allocated for Defence Ministry for 2017 is €990 million, an increase of €109 million (12.4 percent) against this year - €881 million, the Finance Ministry informed SITA. Thus, all preconditions for potentially allocating these resources also for the tasks stemming from government resolution have been met, the ministry argues.

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