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DECI member countries’ Chiefs of Defence meet in Rome

Text: Ministry of Defence |  14:05 October 7, 2021

The participants of a chiefs of staff level conference of the Defence Cooperation Initiative (DECI) have signed a document concerning the result of the Strategic Review in Rome. At the two-day discussion, Hungary was represented by Lieutenant General Dr. Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, Commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces. The chiefs of staff of member countries reaffirmed that this form of cooperation has the primary objective of enhancing regional stability and security in Central and South-Eastern Europe through the military cooperation of member states.


At the meeting, the commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces emphasized that Hungary’s interest in choosing the fields of cooperation is to achieve that the member countries focus on region-specific fields. Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi added that this initiative may form the basis of cooperation in the military industry sector and regional capability building, which would promote the attainment of our goals. The commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces underlined that Hungary considers KFOR’s and EUFOR’s presence in the Balkans very important in the interest of maintaining a safe and secure environment. Thanks to this, already more than 600 Hungarian troops are serving in the region.

Our commitment to the region is also shown by the fact that a Hungarian commander, Major General Ferenc Kajári is going to assume command of KFOR as of 15 October. By supporting him, NATO appreciates Hungary’s decade-long contribution to the international peacekeeping efforts in the Western Balkans. The commander added that Hungary supports the maintenance of a safe and secure environment in the region, not only by deploying troops but also by helping Kosovo and Bosnia–Herzegovina through vaccinating the local civilian personnel of the missions, in the hope that this, too, will contribute to ending the pandemic at the earliest.


The chiefs of defence discussed the challenges that the coronavirus pandemic poses to member countries. The data clearly show that Hungary made the right decision when it closed its borders in time, which greatly contributed to containing the further spread of COVID-19. Lieutenant General Ruszin-Szendi said that the number of soldiers involved in the tasks was around 1600 per day during the first wave, and around 3500-3600 per day during the second and third waves. In order to provide support to hospitals and execute liaison tasks, the Hungarian Defence Forces contributed close to 8000 personnel per month to the response activities. Although getting the COVID-19 vaccine is not mandatory in the Hungarian Defence Forces, by now 86% of their personnel has already been vaccinated.

In the framework of the conference, Lieutenant General Ruszin-Szendi held bilateral discussions with Croatian Chief of Defence Admiral Robert Hranj. During the discussions, the commander of the Hungarian Defence Forces thanked Croatia for its cooperation in setting up the Headquarters Multinational Division – Centre (HQ MND-C). Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi said that in a continuously changing security environment, the Central European countries, too, face new challenges on a daily basis. For this reason, he hopes that the Székesfehérvár-based MND-C is an excellent form of cooperation in the Alliance and provides an effective means for tackling security challenges.