Jump to contentJump to menuJump to footer

The development of the Hungarian armed forces is indispensable

Text: defence.hu/MTI | Photo: archives, Zoltán Balogh (MTI) |  12:12 February 19, 2024

“The Hungarian Defence Forces must be brought into such a condition that the country can defend itself if needed – therefore, “we cannot shun, we cannot duck out of the development of the armed forces”, stated Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky in Budapest on 16 February.


In his presentation held at the 24th Hungarian Business Leaders Forum Financial Summit, Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky pointed out that his process has already started, and extends to the fields of the defence industry, armament development, human resources and infrastructure as well. He also noted that Hungary meets the NATO target of spending 2% of its GDP on defence. In the minister’s assessment, Hungary stands on stable foundations, even if there are “tectonic movements” going on in the world.

Speaking about the Russo-Ukrainian War, he said that a 21st-century type, “horrible massacre” is going on in our neighborhood, which determines “our circumstances”. The handling of the war and the economical and political decisions following its outbreak have fundamentally changed the power relations and economic positions in Europe, noted the minister. He said that in a military sense, “we, the West are waging a war” in which “the Ukrainians are fighting with the financial support of the West, with western weapons and western ammunition.” He added that neither the weapon systems, nor the ammunition and other supplies were ready in a strategic sense for us to “wage a seemingly endless war”.


Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky highlighted that the Hungarian position on the Russo-Ukrainian War remains unchanged: immediate ceasefire and the start of peace talks are necessary. Hungary continues not to send any weapons to Ukraine, and “will not change this standpoint under any kind of pressure”. Speaking about the War in Gaza, he said that that conflict, too, gives cause for concern, and the risk of that war is no smaller in terms of international stability.

In connection with the development of the Hungarian armed forces, the minister of defence drew attention to the fact that in recent decades, “we have underestimated the possibility” that any country may come under attack, and the security guarantees provided by NATO – an organization that functions drawing on the contributions of national forces – do not make sense without the development of the armed forces. Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky recalled that a number of programs have already been completed in the development of the armed forces, noting that significant steps have been taken forward in all arms of the military. First, the air defence has been brought up to a high level, and a “qualitative generational change” is taking place in this field, he added. He called the formation of a heavy brigade the second step, which is at once a NATO requirement as well. He added that Hungary has committed itself to the establishment of a major land-based armored force by 2028.


Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky mentioned the commissioning of these items of equipment as the third main task. The minister of defence also said that of course, there is a need for personnel who are able to operate and use these high-value, modern NATO-compatible assets in different arms of the military. He also talked about the recently launched recruitment campaigns, adding that they are successful in his opinion. The development of the infrastructure serving the soldiers is also continuous. Many people have “medieval” ideas of the barracks, but today most of these facilities are already in the category “Student hostel ++” – he noted. The minister also said that the government intends to achieve that the development of the armed forces is linked with that of the economy through the defence industry.

“One can build an industry based on the orders placed by the Hungarian Defence Forces”, he stated, adding that there is a very important national economic potential in the building of the defence industry, because beyond domestic needs, this sector of the industry can produce for export as well. The minister called it important to involve Hungarian enterprises in the defence industry developments.