Strong national armed forces and a strong NATO are the guarantees of Hungary’s security, said Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky in a statement given to Hungarian news agency MTI after the meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Friday, 16 June.
The Hungarian Minister of Defence said that the meeting was primarily aimed at the finalization of the preparations for NATO’s new strategy ahead of the Vilnius Summit in July. He noted that one year earlier, the participants of the Madrid Summit had decided on the reinforcement of NATO’s eastern flank, which also ushered in a new era in the field of deterrence and collective defence. He underscored that in this regard, Hungary has performed well, as the multinational battle group established in its territory and the Székesfehérvár-based Headquarters Multinational Division Centre (HQ MND-C) also indicate our country’s commitment to the Alliance.
The Minister of Defence pointed out that Hungary continues to do its share of the tasks, and at the same time supports collective solutions. He went on citing the examples of our efforts made in the interest of strengthening the transatlantic and the European defence industry bases, which are in harmony with the government’s intention of consolidating the Hungarian defence industry. However, as he pointed out, besides the reinforcement of the eastern flank, the threats from the southern and other directions must not be overlooked, either.
He added that Hungary must defend itself as a country in the neighborhood of the war in Ukraine, and also due to the threat to its southern borders on the Balkan migration route, besides participating in the performance of the tasks of collective defence as a committed NATO ally.
“In this spirit, we are participating in NATO’s largest land mission KFOR in Kosovo as the third highest troop contributing nation”, he said. Speaking about Ukraine, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky stated that Hungary’s position has not changed, it continues not to send lethal equipment to Ukraine. It urges immediate ceasefire and peace talks, and is helping Ukraine and those fleeing from the war in the framework of the largest humanitarian aid program in its history. Concerning the war, he added that unfortunately, still no scenarios can be ruled out, so we should work towards reducing the danger of escalation.
“It is important that NATO continues to stay out of the conflict, but it must treat nuclear deterrence as a priority, so that it can be ready for anything”, he said. As for NATO’s future relations with Ukraine, Hungary continues to support NATO’s open door policy, but the accession of a country at war cannot be put on the agenda, he noted. Finally, the minister added that on this occasion again, he called on Ukraine to meet the pledges it made for its future membership, with particular regard to minority rights.