PRAGUE — Defense ministers from the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia agreed May 4 to create a 3,000-strong joint combat unit to be put at the EU’s disposal.
“We want to put into place a combat unit for EU forces before the end of the first quarter of 2016,” Czech Defence Minister Alexandr Vondra told reporters at Litormerice, north of Prague.
The unit will be under Polish command, and its first exercise is due to take place in 2015, before it becomes fully operational, Vondra said.
“This is a strong signal that four central European countries are capable of taking on such a task without a great European power behind them,” the Czech minister added.
The ministers also agreed to hold joint exercises after the end of their respective missions in Afghanistan, where they have deployed a total 3,600 personnel.
All four countries, which were part of the Soviet bloc, joined the EU and NATO in 2004.