The government of Hungary is working to ensure the security of Hungarians in NATO at a time of war and amid the threats of growing migration pressure, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky after a two-day Meeting of NATO Ministers of Defence in Brussels on Wednesday, 15 February.
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky told Hungarian news agency MTI that during their meeting in Brussels, the defence ministers reviewed the current state of strengthening defences on NATO’s eastern flank. Hungary is performing excellently in this field, too, since of the four new battle groups that have been stood up on the eastern flank, the Hungarian one was the first to reach full operational capability, stated the Minister of Defence.
He pointed out that Hungary’s position is that the threat of illegal migration from the South should not be ignored. Hungary also considers the security of the Western Balkans a priority. The yearslong engagement of the Hungarian Defence Forces in international missions deployed in the region, in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina, has been “successful and appreciated”, he said.
Speaking about the Defence Investment Pledge (DIP) adopted by NATO leaders in 2014, which calls for the member states to move towards the guideline of spending at least 2% of their Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on defence by 2024, the Minister of Defence said that Hungary is among the well-performing Allies in this regard, since it will have reached the 2% of GDP target before deadline, in this year. He added that several member states of the Alliance are in favor of raising this spending target, and a decision on this may be taken at the NATO Summit in Vilnius in July.
In connection with the discussion about the war in Ukraine, the minister reaffirmed that Hungary’s position remains the same.
“We still want peace. All signs point to the war being drawn out, and since human lives are on the line, we must repeat: we can only save lives through peace. We continue to oppose all steps leading to an escalation of the war”, he said.
With regard to NATO Summit to be held in Vilnius this year, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that investments in defence industry would play a large role in preparing this year’s summit. “Hungary is a step ahead in that regard, thanks to the investments strengthening not only our defence capacity, but also the Hungarian economy and our international position”, added the Minister of Defence.