The presidency of the parliamentary cooperation of the Visegrád Group countries (V4) will be held between July 2019 and July 2020 by the two chambers of the Czech Parliament. In this context, the Czech Chamber of Deputies, in cooperation with the Czech Senate, organised a joint committee meeting for the Defence Committees of the V4 parliaments on 7–8 January 2020. At the meeting the National Assembly was represented by Miklós Simon, Deputy Chair of the Defence and Police Committee, and Miklós Boros, Hungary’s ambassador in Prague. All the Defence or Security Committees of the Parliamentary Chambers of each V4 country were represented (the Polish Sejm sent one of its officers) at the meeting, which was open to the press with regards to the opening presentations.
The three main themes of the event were V4 defence cooperation, joint procurements, and cyber defence and cyber security.
The meeting was opened by Jana Černochová, Chair of the Defence Committee of the Czech Chamber of Deputies, who recalled in her opening speech that the V4 cooperation will celebrate its 30th anniversary in February next year. She added that in recent years all countries have achieved a number of results individually, but they have always been the most effective when acting together. Among the speeches of the heads of delegations, Simon Miklós pointed out with regards to defence policy, among other things, that the cooperation of the Visegrád Group is the most important regional forum for Hungary, providing an opportunity for regular debates and coordination of the various EU and NATO positions.
The progress made in the field of V4 defence cooperation and the defence priorities of the Czech V4 Presidency were presented by Radomír Jahoda, Deputy Minister for Defence Policy and Strategy at the Czech Ministry of Defence.Major General Jaromír Alan, Director of the Capability Planning Division of the Czech Army’s General Staff, then spoke about the V4 EU battlegroup, its possible reform, the V4 JLSG HQ, the PESCO projects and the joint V4 trainings and exercises.
The second panel began with a presentation by Lubor Koudelka, Director of the Management and Support Department of the Armaments and Acquisition Division of the Czech Ministry of Defence, who provided a historical overview of joint procurement, the main reasons for the failure to cooperate and one of the main objectives of the Czech Presidency, the implementation of a small joint project.
In relation to the third item on the agenda, the delegations heard three lectures on the Czech Republic’s experience and approach to cyber defence and cyber security, the challenges and threats posed by cyber attacks, and the possible solutions. Lukáš Kintr, Deputy Director of the National Cyber and Security Centre of the Czech National Cyber and Information Security Agency, explained that guaranteeing cyber security is the responsibility of the state, where prevention and understanding of potential threats are paramount. Cyber defence is the responsibility of military intelligence and the army, which was discussed in a presentation by Jan Beroun, Director of the Czech Military Intelligence. In the context of cyber defence, Mr. Beroun highlighted the lack of an exact definition and the importance of international cooperation. The third presentation was given by Michal Koudelka, Director of the Czech Security Information Service, who stressed that in addition to ongoing training, cooperation between the countries and mutual trust are essential in the fight against cyber attacks.
In closing the meeting, delegation heads of the V4 defence committees signed a document containing the final conclusions of the event.