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As a committed NATO member, Hungary continues developing its armed forces

Text: defence.hu | Photo: nato.int, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky’s Facebook page |  11:28 February 16, 2024

NATO is made up of national forces, and that is why every member state has to develop its own forces; being committed to its NATO membership, Hungary is doing so indeed – stated Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky after the Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels on 15 February.


Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky told Hungarian news agency MTI that increasingly more member states are planning to meet the required NATO guideline of spending at least 2% of their national Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence. Hungary has been fulfilling this Defence Investment Pledge already since 2023, which has won appreciation from the defence Alliance and also guarantees that the government of Hungary is committed to safeguarding the security of Hungarian people and meeting NATO’s spending target.

He emphasized that the Brussels meeting repeatedly highlighted that member states must invest significantly more in their security. This is not a painless process; at the same time, in order to provide the necessary capabilities, it is indispensable that all member states fulfil the Defence Investment Pledge that was renewed at last year’s NATO Summit in Vilnius, and reach the at least 2% GDP annual defence expenditure as soon as possible – underlined the minister.


He said that one of the items high on the agenda of the ministerial meeting was to review and prepare the defence issues ahead of the meeting of heads of state and government at the Washington Summit in July, which will also mark NATO’s 75th anniversary. Prominent among these issues is the finalization of plans aimed at further increasing the strength and effectiveness of the collective defence of the allies – said the minister.

“During the meeting, great emphasis was laid on the need for expanding defence industrial capacities, and Hungary is also in the lead of this process, since it had already started building a domestic defence industrial base prior to the war in Ukraine. The recent period has multiply confirmed its necessity”, noted the minister.

Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky underlined that to Hungary, it is especially important to fulfill its commitments made within the framework of NATO, in the fields of capability development, operational contributions and financial obligations alike. The minister stated that “having said that, we cannot just sit back. We have to carry on with the modernization of the Hungarian Defence Forces; moreover, as a member state situated on the eastern flank of the Alliance, we must take a significant share in strengthening NATO’s defence capabilities.”


He added that Hungary considers it a priority to further strengthen the Székesfehérvár-based NATO Headquarters Multinational Division Centre (HQ MND-C) in partnership with the other two framework nations, Croatia and Slovakia.

The minister also told MTI that within the framework of the meeting on Thursday, the Ukrainian Defence Minister gave an update on the situation in Ukraine during a session of the NATO–Ukraine Council, and the allies reviewed the support provided to Ukraine. The great majority of the member states are still urging the continuation of the fight and the weapon deliveries – he said. In this connection, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky pointed out that Hungary’s position remains unchanged: it does not supply any weapons, and calls for an immediate ceasefire and peace talks as the only way to end the war.

miniszteri ossz