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Peace is the most Important!

Text: defence.hu / MTI | Photo: Sztaniszláv Horváth |  12:52 April 29, 2024

Peace is the most important! – emphasized Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky on Friday, 26 April, adding that unfortunately, the whole world but Europe is certainly in a strange “fever of war”.

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In his speech opening the Budapest Security Dialogue (BSD) conference combined with a defence industry exhibition, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said, “everybody is talking about war, while peace is our most important treasure”. It must be kept and we must grab every opportunity to emphasize the importance of peace – added the minister. Such an opportunity was the meeting of CEDC ministers with the participation of five Central European and six Western Balkans countries, held yesterday in the Bálna Defence Centre. The minister underlined that the BSD conference calls attention to the necessity of European defence and in this essential issue, Central Europe and the Western Balkans must make their voices heard. We must consider ourselves as a large family in the region. Our responsibility is to “be the defenders of peace” – said Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky. The politician also talked about the rivalry noticeable among great powers in the world again and again. Economic power is shifting from west to east, large countries are emerging, and this leads to tensions. All these processes are also carrying threats, namely, that new blocs will be formed – he said. The minister emphasized that the former is not in the interest of Hungary, “our country’s interest is to be an engine in a kind of security dialogue”, which also provides a constant flow of information.

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As for the war in Ukraine, he said that it is constantly carrying “the risk of escalation”. He thinks that the war reached a critical point: the West decided to globalize the conflict, which has economically reached each corner of the world. Furthermore, the Russian aggressor has built such a military machine, and we cannot imagine how it could be halted by anyone, said the defence minister. He repeated that while there is an ongoing open conflict near us each moment, we must face the risk of escalation. Only an immediate ceasefire and peace talks can be the solution to this situation – stated Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky.

Talking about the Israeli–Palestinian conflict, he said that we must pay particular attention and take responsible steps because it also endangers the security of the world trade. Terrorism and migration also derive from the lack of security, uncertainty and the war – said the minister. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky underlined that Hungary cannot afford to be powerless. We are a NATO member, which is our final guarantee for security but we cannot solely rely on external help, therefore, we must build up a very strong military development program – he pointed out. The minister said that from the 2010s, they started to transform the Soviet-structured armed forces with NATO-compatible, high-tech equipment. We have created a very strong and resistant defence system – he added. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky explained that they not only try to procure suitable assets and reshape the equipment of the armed forces but also to create a stable defence industry. This can work “as a new cylinder in the engine of the Hungarian economy” – he said.

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The politician also talked about the fact that the BSD conference aims to strengthen Europe, and the war in Ukraine has shown that NATO has an obvious raison d’être, but in the meantime, Europe shall not fully rely on NATO, which is dominated by the USA. Europe should do more for the sake of its security – he emphasized. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky also said that Hungary is engaged in several foreign missions and approximately a thousand Hungarian troops are serving worldwide. The minister also highlighted in his speech that the EU enlargement is the best way to increase security in the Western Balkans.

László Palkovics, CEO of N7 Holding National Defence Industry Innovation Plc., said that the BSD conference was first organized to strengthen the cooperation among local and international partners in the field of defence industry. Related to strengthening the role of the defence industry, he said that Hungary became a very important actor in this field in the region. The local defence industry also guarantees national security conditions – said László Palkovics, calling it important that Hungary build these capacities, enter the international market and integrate into the supply chains.

Robert Kalinák, Slovakian Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, also emphasized in connection with the southern region that EU integration is really important from the point of view of peace and stability. Meanwhile, as he noted, the EU integration of the Western Balkans is not progressing properly. He also said that it is common knowledge that Austria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia and Slovenia strongly support the EU integration of the Western Balkans. The European Union promised the Western Balkans countries in 2003 that they would have the opportunity to join but until now, it was only realized in the case of Croatia – said the minister, who called it a good sign that the enlargement is on the agenda again. Robert Kalinák also mentioned that the cooperation between Hungary and Slovakia is the best today, and the key to this success is that they have focused only on the topics they agree on.

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