Ladies and gentlemen,
I am honoured to welcome you to this year’s Future Forces Forum. It is a great pleasure for me to grant the auspices to this outstanding event. As the 1st Deputy Prime Minister and the Minister of the Interior, I am pleased to continue cooperation with the Future Forces Forum. The Forum is a high-quality project bringing together defence and security experts and companies from all over the world. I am proud that the host of the venue this year is Prague, making our capital the metropolis which has a permanent place on the international market of the defence and security industry.
This, I believe is due to a strong and excellent representation of Czech firms, the academic community and the state institutions which offer a long tradition of top and innovative technology and are the guarantee of quality and reliability.
The Ministry of the Interior realizes the significance of the security research and innovation and therefore, it supports these trends by dedicated programs, one of which is the 2015-2022 Security Research Program of the Czech Republic with the allocated public support of 2 800 million CZK. This program has supported projects focused on applied research on new generation personal security tools for the needs of the integrated rescue system, or the prediction and protection against cyber incidents.
As the Czech government declares in its program statement: “There is no stability and prosperity without ensuring security.” Sadly, the whole world has been witnessing how the present international security situation can rapidly and dynamically change and influence the lives of all of us. I am proud that the Czech Republic has provided Ukraine with the much-needed military technology and humanitarian assistance, and thus supported the fight against inexcusable aggression of the Russian Federation. We have also provided support to the Ukrainian Fire Brigade which has to deal with wide-spread fires caused by bombardment. Czech firemen sent a high-altitude technology and special vehicles with illumination equipment to besieged towns. We also provided protective equipment to the Ukrainian police, which handed over their equipment to the army. Almost 400 thousand Ukrainians, especially women and children, have found refuge from war in the Czech Republic. They were often forced to leave their homes in a hurry without being sure when and if they would be able to return.
Today, the role of NATO is more important than ever before, and the Czech Republic considers its membership in NATO a cornerstone of its own defence. The Czech government will endeavour to increase its defence spending to 2% of the GDP by the year 2025 at the latest.
Responding to the unprovoked aggression of Russia against Ukraine, NATO has decided to reinforce its Eastern Wing by, among others, deploying its forces in Slovakia, Romania, and Hungary. It is an honour for the Czech Republic to assume the command of the Multinational Battle Groups in Slovakia, to demonstrate, along with other allies, the determination to defend the Eastern Wing states and to deter a possible aggressor.
In conclusion, l would like to express the conviction that this year’s Future Forces Forum will be as successful as in previous years, it will deepen cooperation and partnership of participating organizations and state representatives, and develop fruitful discussion on current security challenges.
I wish you every success in your deliberations!
Minister of the Interior