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Jan 13, 2017

Hungary to double defense budget over the next ten years

Hungary's annual defense spending will increase by 0.1 percent each year, which means a rise to about 350 billion HUF this year

Hungary will more than double its defense budget over the next ten years, it has been announced.

István Simicskó, minister of Defense, has said that the government will increase its defense spending gradually to 2 percent of its economic output by 2026 from 0.95 percent now.

According to Reuters, Hungary, which joined NATO in 1998, spends less on defense than other eastern European members Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.

Although military spending among NATO members has increased because of Russia's annexation of Crimea and the crisis in Ukraine, only Britain, Poland, Greece and Estonia meet the goal of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.

Simicskó told Reuters that Hungary's annual defense spending will increase by 0.1 percent each year, which means a rise to about 350 billion HUF this year.

The minister said Hungary would embark on a defense development program, which would include the procurement of military helicopters.

He said that four of Hungary's Russian Mi-17 helicopters were being refurbished in Russia at the moment and declined to say how many functioning helicopters Budapest had on hand.