September 5, 2011 Ministry of Defence (Czech Republic) – defpro.com
The Czech military will create in 2012 the European Union Battle Group with five other EU countries, says Chief of the General Staff of ACR General Vlastimil Picek after talks with EU Military Committee Chairman Swedish General Håkan Syrén.
Czechs will create the Battle Group together with Austria, Croatia, Germany, Ireland and Macedonia. To its total size of 2800 soldiers the Czech Republic will contribute with 350 men and women. According to General Picek, the Czech military will offer a mechanised company complemented with logistic support and other elements.
In case of need, EU Battle Groups can be deployed within ten days to the distance up to six thousand kilometres from Brussels. They are created to fulfil a wide spectrum of tasks from humanitarian relief, separation of fighting parties up to reconstruction tasks. According to Håkan Syrén, there is no immediate need to deploy these units, for example in Libya. „There are no assumptions to deploy these units in that country. Libyans do not wish the presence of any Western soldiers on their territory,“ General Syrén said.
General Picek informed his guest on conclusions of the White Book on Defence which was approved by the Czech government this May. According to Syrén, the document very well copies international context and represent a „clear message“. „Things to come will be very painful but this is the only way how to go ahead,“ Syrén said to the future of the Czech military.
Both generals speak also about the initiative of joining funds and sharing capablities within 27 European countries. „I would like to stress our capabilities predominantly in areas of chemical and biological protection, we are really good at it, and we also play a key role in this area within the Alliance,“ Picek said. Czechs can be useful to the EU also in training of helicopter pilots. „We can, of course, help with our educational and logistic capabilities,“ he added.
Later, General Syrén had also talks with Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra.
General Syrén at Headquarters of the 31st Brigade
The Chairman of the EU Military Committee during his two-day visit to the Czech Republic also came to the HQ of the 31st Brigade of Radiological, Chemical and Biological Protection at the north-Bohemian city of Liberec.
Accompanied by Generals Zizka and Baloun, General Syrén received a presentation on capabilities of the brigade and major tasks which was delivered by Chief of Operations Major Karel Navrátil. He presented experience from foreign missions, from support to important international events and he spoke also about cooperation with entities of the Czech Integrated Rescue System. General Syrén was interested in engagement of chemical units at the Task Force of NATO Rapid Response Forces.
Chemical specialists presented a demonstration in which they simulated activities in the aftermath of a terrorist attack after leakage of chemical agent.
General later examined equipment and material for radiological, chemical and biological reconnaissance, means for decontamination, protection suits and gear, masks and equipment in laboratories. At the end of his visit to Liberec, General Syrén expresed his admiration and appreciation over professionality of "chemists" and thanked them for all demonstrations.