- Hans Weber
- December 4, 2023
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala Finalizes Defence Cooperation Agreement with US
Czech Prime Minister Petr Fiala has concluded a significant milestone by signing the Defence Cooperation Agreement (DCA) with the United States, marking the completion of its ratification. The Prime Minister shared this announcement on his Twitter account, highlighting the importance of deepening relations with the US through this pivotal agreement.
The DCA, already signed by Czech President Petr Pavel on August 1, awaits activation 30 days after ratification in the United States. Fiala emphasized that the agreement constitutes a crucial achievement, one that should have been realized long ago. He acknowledged its role in fortifying Czech-US relations and pointed to the ongoing discussions between newly joining NATO countries and the US for similar bilateral agreements.
The DCA is positioned as a vital component in enhancing the security of the Czech Republic. Defence Minister Jan Cernochova, present during the signing, asserted that the transatlantic collaboration within NATO forms the bedrock of collective European defense. Given the backdrop of Russia’s military aggression against Ukraine, Cernochova underscored the value of a robust alliance with democratic nations, particularly the United States.
Despite some protests against the presence of US troops on Czech soil, the treaty received substantial support from both houses of the Czech parliament. In the Senate, 66 out of 72 legislators voted in favor, while in the Chamber of Deputies, 115 of 144 MPs supported the document.
The comprehensive agreement, spanning approximately 40 pages, covers multifaceted aspects related to potential US troop presence in the Czech Republic and cooperative endeavors between the armed forces of both nations. It outlines the legal status of US soldiers, environmental considerations, vehicle operations, and tax exemptions. Notably, the DCA also designates specific military installations and Czech army premises accessible to the US armed forces under pre-agreed terms.
A resolution accompanying the ratification, put forth by the opposition ANO party, reinforces the deepening of practical defence cooperation with the US and its positive impact on Czech security. Importantly, it clarifies that the agreement doesn’t permit the establishment of permanent US military bases or the permanent residence of US forces without prior Czech consent. It also explicitly precludes the deployment of nuclear weapons.
Government officials and ANO representatives underlined that the agreement doesn’t imply the establishment of permanent US bases, which would require parliamentary approval. The accord primarily outlines the legal framework for the status and activities of US troops in the country.
While the far-right Freedom and Direct Democracy (SPD) expressed concerns over the agreement, alleging it signified future US military presence and a subordinate status for the Czech Republic, the government coalition asserted that the document is a strategic tool for enhanced cooperation, security, and mutual benefits between the two nations.
Article by Prague Forum