On the 25th anniversary of Czechia’s accession to NATO, parliamentarians celebrate Alliance strength and advocate for reinforcing technological edge

20 March 2024

As Czechia commemorated a quarter century of NATO membership, the country stands as a committed and steadfast member of the Alliance. While NATO approaches its 75th anniversary and prepares for the upcoming summit in Washington, D.C., the Alliance faces its most significant security crisis in Europe since World War II, precipitated by Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine in 2022. In this critical moment, Czechia’s unwavering commitment to NATO’s values and objectives underscores the importance of collective solidarity and cooperation in ensuring peace and security in the Euro-Atlantic region. 

On this significant occasion and against this concerning backdrop, the Science and Technology Committee held a four-day visit to Prague and Pardubice. This visit provided an opportunity to reflect on Czechia's contributions to NATO's collective security and reaffirm the bonds of solidarity and cooperation within the Alliance. Furthermore, it served as a platform to engage in constructive dialogue on pressing security challenges facing the Euro-Atlantic region and to explore avenues for enhancing NATO’s effectiveness in addressing them.  

The delegation consisted of 16 lawmakers from 12 NATO member countries and was led by Agnes Vadai (Hungary). Members met with Czech officials, experts, and journalists to discuss the country’s contributions to NATO, its steadfast support  for Ukraine, and the ways through which the Alliance can maintain its technological edge and enhance its democratic resilience. 

Czechia: a committed Ally  

Membership in NATO “remains the fundament and framework of Czech defence policy”, as Minister of Defence Jana Černochová emphasizes in the country’s 2023 defence strategy. Czechia not only views NATO as the bedrock of its freedom and security, but also actively contributes to the Alliance. “Now, more than ever, ensuring our citizens’ security is paramount. We are committed to investing 2% of our national budget in our armed forces. Strengthening our defence capabilities underscores our unwavering dedication to protecting our nation’s security, while also bolstering the security of our allies”, stated Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Pekarová Adamová. 

Czechia is engaged in initiatives aimed at bolstering its own security and that of the EuroAtlantic region. As part of its efforts to modernise its military, the country has entered into an agreement to acquire 24 F-35 fighter jets. Czechia also plays a significant role in NATO's Enhanced Forward Presence, leading a battlegroup in Slovakia and has contributed to battlegroups stationed in Latvia and Lithuania. It also deployed Gripen jets to Lithuania as part of NATO’s air defence Quick Reaction Alert mission. Furthermore, Czechia participates in NATO’s Mission in Kosovo (KFOR) and its Training Mission in Iraq. 

Parliamentarians had the opportunity to gain practical insights into Czechia’s contribution to the Alliance during a visit to the Flight Training Centre in Pardubice. As one of the two initial NATO Flight Training Europe Training Campuses, it offers training programs for pilots and maintenance crews of fixed-wing and rotary-wing aircraft. Additionally, the delegation received a briefing on the Czech Military Intelligence Satellite Centre, which provides satellite imagery to support decision-making across military and civilian sectors.

Czechia’s steadfast solidarity with Ukraine against Russia’s aggression 

Czechia demonstrates unwavering support for Ukraine, not only with words but also deeds. Leading by example, Czechia is spearheading an initiative to procure essential ammunition for Ukraine from third-party nations. Furthermore, Czechia's long-established and cutting-edge defence industry is playing a part in efforts to provide Ukraine with the necessary equipment to counter Russian aggression.  

NATO parliamentarians gained firsthand insights into the Czech defence industry’s capacity and potential during a visit to ERA in Pardubice, where advanced passive surveillance electromagnetic spectrum trackers, including the VERA-NG systems, are manufactured. Four of these systems were recently acquired by the Netherlands and deployed in Ukraine, significantly enhancing its surveillance, air defence, and electronic warfare capabilities. 

Czechia’s contributions to maintaining and strengthening the Alliance’s technological edge  

Russia’s war against Ukraine holds many lessons about the future of warfare and highlights the need for NATO to adapt to these changes. During the visit, lawmakers deepened their understanding of these dynamics through discussions with experts from the Institute for Politics and Society, the Prague Security Studies Institute, and the Association for International Affairs. One of the recognisable trends is the simultaneous persistence of traditional forms of warfare and increased reliance on technological innovation on the battlefield. Electronic warfare, cyberattacks, and disinformation campaigns have become integral components of contemporary armed conflicts. For that reason, Minister Lipavský noted that “NATO’s success is rooted in unity, shared principles, and the capacity to adapt, including by maintaining its technological edge.” 

Czechia makes crucial contributions to this endeavour. With a long-standing tradition of innovation and excellence in various sectors, including defence technology, Czechia contributes significantly to NATO’s technological edge. Lawmakers gained first hand insights into Czech innovation during a visit to the HiLase Centre, which develops cutting-edge laser technology. As Agnes Vadai pointed out “Czechia is a hub for innovation and this visit is a chance to showcase the region's potential to NATO parliamentarians, laying the basis for future collaborations.”  

Czechia embraces multinational collaboration on research and development. Jana Havlíková, Deputy Minister for Science, Research and Innovation, stressed that “by cooperating and sharing knowledge across borders and disciplines within the Alliance and with like-minded partners, we unlock the true potential of science.” The country is, therefore, making an active contribution to the NATO’s Science and Technology Organisation (STO) as the Czech representative to the Science and Technology Board, Pavel Zůna, pointed out. 

Czechia’s experience in bolstering societal and democratic resilience  

NATO Allies increasingly face cyberattacks, disinformation campaigns, and interference emanating from malevolent external actors, and Czechia is no exception. During the visit, parliamentarians received briefings on cybersecurity by the Military Intelligence and the National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NÚKIB) which covered, inter alia, Russian disinformation campaigns and cyber threats, Chinese cyber activities, and the Czech approach to strengthening cybersecurity and resilience.  

Czechia is pursuing a whole-of-government and whole-of-society approach to strengthening its societal and democratic resilience against hybrid threats. “Only through collective action, unity, the adoption of a whole-of-society approach, and unwavering dedication to our democratic values can we effectively ensure our Euro-Atlantic security”, noted Minister Lipavský. Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Markéta Pekarová Adamová further underlined the importance of “fostering greater awareness and understanding among our populations” of the threats to security and democracy.  

A free and independent press is indispensable to counter disinformation and guarantee democratic resilience. In a visit to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, the delegation received a briefing on the deteriorating situation in Russia, Belarus, and the Russian-occupied territories of Ukraine. Journalists highlighted the escalating challenges that they face there and the ramifications of recent developments, including the designation of RFE/RL as an “undesirable organisation” by the Russian authorities. They also discussed how they draw on technological tools to circumvent such restrictions and continue delivering news. NATO parliamentarians praised the courage of those prepared to risk everything to inform the public and uphold the principle of freedom of the press. 

Photos of the visit

© Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic 
© Chamber of Deputies, Parliament of the Czech Republic
© National Cyber and Information Security Agency (NUKIB) 
© LOM Praha

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