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In a Europe that has experienced acts of terrorism with increasing frequency in recent years, Hungary stands out as an island of security at the heart of the continent. The reasons are many, but important among them is the political will to keep it like that. In addition to the border fence securing an otherwise vulnerable stretch of the European Union’s southeastern border, the Orbán Government bolstered defense forces through the Zrinyi 2026 program.
The government is pushing forward with the development of the Hungarian Defence Forces. The first phase of the Zrínyi 2026 National Defence and Armed Forces Development Program has already been launched
Late last week, leaders of the 28 members of NATO gathered in Brussels to send, in the words of Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, a strong message of the unity of the transatlantic alliance and its commitment to collective security. NATO finds itself in an increasingly challenging environment due to the rise of complex security threats that require responsive capabilities. Grappling with terrorism, migration, cybercrime and more, every one of the member states must step up its game.
Minister of Defense István Simicskó is this year's GLOBSEC 2016 security policy conference in Bratislava, April 15. The main topics of the three-day event are the migrant crisis, the crisis in the Middle East, the Islamic State and the war in Syria as well as the effects of Russia’s intervention in Ukraine and Syria and the lead-up to the NATO Summit in Warsaw.
On Wednesday morning, Bakondi György, Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister, told public television channel M1 that the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) has no information on specific terrorist threats to Hungary.
Due to the increased number of illegal border violations in the last few days, in response to a request from the Ministry of the Interior, the Hungarian Defence Forces (HDF) have started the further physical reinforcement of the temporary border barrier in certain sectors along the Hungarian–Serbian border. In order to finish the work as soon as possible, more HDF units were deployed into the area at the weekend.
A five-party consultation was held on Friday at the Ministry of Interior regarding the Government’s counter-terrorism action plan which will be debated by the Cabinet on Monday, and in the wake of this debate, there will be another consultation with the parliamentary parties. After the Friday consultation, Government Spokesperson Zoltán Kovács said: there were no fundamental disagreements on professional issues, and an agreement may well be reached.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has confirmed that the Hungarian government is taking the threat of terrorism seriously, and that it has enacted the necessary measures. In an interview given to the public media in Washington on Friday, the Prime Minister expressed his satisfaction that Hungary is regarded as advanced from a nuclear energy point of view, and that its safety system is deemed to be outstanding.
Following Wednesday morning’s meeting of the Operations Unit, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced on Hungarian M1 television that “Hungary is maintaining all the current security measures at its borders, or raising them by one level”.
At a conference of Hungarian local governments, Minister of Interior Sándor Pintér said that Hungary’s borders are safe. Mayors attending the conference organised by the Association of Hungarian Cities with County Rank (MJVSZ) accepted a political statement against mandatory resettlement quotas.
On 2 March, a daylong conference entitled “Migration – Conflict or Cooperation?” was organized in Stefánia Palace, Budapest by the Scientific Research Centre of the General Staff of the Hungarian Defence Forces and the Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade. The patron of the conference is Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó.
Speaking at a forum held in Budapest on Wednesday, 17 February, the Minister of Defence stated that “the Government will not compromise the security of Hungarians, therefore its aim is to get enough room for maneuvering in the fight against terrorism”.
The Meetings of NATO Defence Ministers took place in Brussels on 10–11 February. Hungary was represented at the event by Deputy Minister Tamás Vargha, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of Defence. The most important task of the meeting was preparation for the July Summit of Heads of State and Government of NATO member states to be held in Warsaw.
On Tuesday, 12 January, on the initiative of Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó, the representatives of parliamentary groups held discussions in the Ministry of Defence about the legislative amendments to be made in the interest of strengthening Hungary’s defence and security and about the tasks of the Hungarian Defence Forces.
In response to a statement by Sweden’s foreign minister, on Sunday Chief Security Advisor to the Prime Minister György Bakondi told public television channel M1 that the Government of Hungary does not see the necessity for reintroduction of military conscription. Keeping the manpower of the reserve force at appropriate levels is important however, he stressed.