Hungary Welcomes NATO’s Maritime Mission
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.
Based on a joint request by Greece, Turkey and Germany, NATO’s role in stemming illegal migration and trafficking was unexpectedly put on the agenda. The ministers came to a decision about the measures to be taken by the Alliance.
These include the deployment of NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 2 in the Aegean Sea and providing support to FRONTEX (the European Union’s border management agency). In accordance with its position – which has long been known and emphasized –, Hungary welcomes the initiative, because in addition to handling the migration crisis, it means a significant step forward in the field of NATO–EU cooperation as well.
At the meeting, the ministers also discussed the extent to which the current security situation necessitates going beyond the decisions made at the Wales Summit. They all agreed that there is a need for NATO’s continuous military presence in the Baltic region. At the same time, the dialogue with Russia must also be maintained.
The NATO ministers of defence met with the representatives of partner states participating in the strengthened cooperation (Australia, Finland, Georgia, Jordan and Sweden) at a working dinner, during which they discussed the current state of cooperation in detail, with special regard to the challenges emerging from the East and the South.
The topics on the agenda of the second day included the Alliance’s response to hybrid warfare, issues in cyber defence and missile defence, NATO’s internal reform and the Resolute Support Mission (RSM) in Afghanistan.
The two-day event concluded with a meeting of the NATO–Georgia Commission, during which the participants reviewed the current state of cooperation approved in Wales. Comprising 13 projects, the Substantial NATO–Georgia Package (SNGP) is being implemented on schedule. Hungary contributes a logistic advisor in support of the package.
After the Meetings of NATO Ministers of Defence, representatives of the countries participating in the counter-ISIL coalition, which is fighting the Islamic State (ISIL/DAESH) terrorist organization, were briefed about recent coalition activities, their results and the plans for the future.