Bratislava, September 14 (TASR) – Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini (Smer-SD) as part of an inspection day at the Defence Ministry on Friday stressed the importance of the modernisation of the Slovak army, TASR learnt on the same day.
At the same time the premier praised the progress made at the ministry in this regard. “Over the past months, or during this electoral term, we’ve been witnessing the most extensive investments in the modernisation of the Slovak Armed Forces. These decisions aren’t always simple and require a certain degree of political courage, but I think the decisions that have so far been made by the Security Council, the Government and the Defence Ministry itself have been correct,” said Pellegrini, praising the purchase of 14 new US F-16 tactical fighter jets as well as the efforts to have the machines repaired and maintained by Trencin-based Aircraft Repair Company.
The premier went on to say that the Government is about to make important decisions, including the purchase of 8×8 armoured vehicles and 4×4 military vehicles.
Pellegrini and Defence Minister Peter Gajdos (SNS) also discussed the shortage of soldiers in the Slovak Army. “We’re struggling with the vacancies in the armed forces, with the posts being occupied at 75 percent. This is partly due to the fact that we’re creating new units and we want to fill them only when the combat machinery will be acquired so that they can train with it and prepare to defend the Slovak Republic,” said Gajdos.
Pellegrini also said that in order to boost motivation of the Slovak soldiers as well as the potential newcomers in the army, the Government is planning to increase soldiers’ salaries by 10 percent in 2019 and by another 10 percent in 2020.
According to Opposition MP Lubomir Galko (SaS), Pellegrini’s visit to the Defence Ministry is only another example of his own PR. “This Government hasn’t invested anything that could be viewed as a modernisation of the Slovak Armed Forces as part of NATO’s collective defence principle. It has only been shooting in the dark while spending millions of euros. That’s the opinion of the experts,” said Galko.