In the evening of Tuesday, 18 April, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky held a lecture in Székesfehérvár with the title „The Hungarian Defence Forces’ responses to the challenges of a changed security environment” at the invitation of Parliamentary State Secretary and Deputy Defence Minister Tamás Vargha, the MP of the region.
“Under no circumstances will Hungary be drifted into this war, and it will do all it can in the interest of keeping this war away from our borders”, said the Minister of Defence in his lecture, adding that Hungary continues not to transport weapons to the war zone, nor does it allow any weapons shipments cross the Hungarian–Ukrainian border. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky underlined that we must reckon with a protracted war, and as long as there is no peace accord between the warring parties, any random incident may carry the possibility of the escalation of the conflict. That is what the government of Hungary wants to avoid at all costs, and therefore, what is needed is a high degree of self-possesion and strategic calm, said the minister.
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky pointed out that few people had anticipated that the citizens of two European, Christian nations would fight each other using conventional weapons. In the wake of the global changes, Hungary had to change its earlier position and recognize that the armed defence of the country is every Hungarian’s cause. “We cannot entrust this to anyone else. Of course, we can rely on international organizations. We need to rely on them indeed, primarily on the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, but NATO, the largest and most successful defensive alliance in the world can only work if the armed forces of its member states have the equipment, training, combat readiness, determination and knowledge that make this defence possible” – he emphasized, adding that not only the government of Hungary but the nation as a whole stands behind NATO, since the international defensive alliance is a very important guarantee of our security. Our country has fulfilled its obligations stemming from its NATO membership, because this year – already one year before the deadline – we will have reached the target of spending 2 per cent of the GDP on defence, he underlined.
Speaking about the National Defence and Armed Forces Development Program, the minister said that the global changes had created an opportunity to put the service of the cause of our homeland into the center of public attention, and to accelerate the modernization process inside the military. “On the one hand, we need to be building the armed forces, while on the other, we are now under more difficult budgetary circumstances than we were earlier” – emphasized the minister.
Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that Hungary’s military interest is to have its essential supplies in its own hand and on Hungarian soil, and that „bartering away, destroying and letting go of” the one-time substantial munitions factories was a significant mistake. Speaking about the results of recent months, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky mentioned that the replacement of small arms has practically been completed, we have also taken significant steps in the field of air defence, the Lynx factory in Zalaegerszeg is already up and running, Czech and American small arms are being manufactured in Kiskunfélegyháza, Airbus Helicopters operates one of its key factories and plants in Gyula, and the munitions factory that is currently under construction in Várpalota will be highly significant for Hungary and the region of Central Eastern Europe.
“Hungary is geared for national defence, it is not preparing to wage war with anyone”, stated the Minister of Defence, who also noted that he attaches great importance to the numbers, physical and mental condition, preparedness and motivation of the personnel, as well as their ability to adapt themselves to the NATO structure. He thinks that we need determined, brave, well-trained soldiers embracing patriotic values for a high-tech and combatworthy military force that is being modernized in terms of equipment, and is ready to tackle the challenges of our changing world. Thus, first and foremost, the countrywide recruitment campaign would like to reach out to the youth, and wishes to restore the esteem of the military career path.
“Székesfehérvár has traditionally been regarded as a very important command and control venue, which is evidently no accident, it being one of the best defendable places in the country, located sufficiently far from all our borders, yet near the capital city. At the same time, it offers the redundancy that if a Budapest-based command post close to the government came under attack, it could function as another command post. In this regard, Székesfehérvár has an ideal location.” – said the Minister of Defence in answer to a question from András Cser-Palkovics, the mayor of Székesfehérvár, and went on praising the town for having accepted the role of the military and the soldiers’ presence.