Hungary hosts international military exercise focused on responding to illegal migration – still one of Europe’s gravest threats

Members of the Hungarian police and armed forces were accompanied by hundreds of foreign participants for the “Cooperative Security 2019” military exercise at two locations in rural Hungary. The goal? Strengthen cooperation to help keep the peace in countries from which people are forced to flee, and protect and preserve our own homeland.

Earlier today, during the official closing of the event dubbed “Cooperative Security 2019” (COOPSEC 2019), Hungary’s Minister of Defense, Tibor Benkő, said that the sheer number of countries participating in the military exercise is proof that illegal migration, listed by NATO as a “southern threat,” remains among Europe’s gravest security risks. 

“The stance of the Hungarian government remains unchanged: Problems that force people to flee their homeland should be remedied where they erupt,” the defense minister added, stating that this is one of the reasons why more than two thousand Hungarian soldiers are currently serving in peacekeeping missions. But alongside helping those countries resolve their issues and rebuild as well as preserve their communities, Defense Minister Benkő said that Hungary aims to preserve the values, customs, and traditions established by its own ancestors here in our homeland of Hungary.

In the framework of the Central European Defense Cooperation (CEDC), an alliance comprising Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Hungary, Slovakia, and Slovenia (Poland has observer status), large-scale military exercises focused on handling illegal migration were held in two locations in Hungary this week. Besides these CEDC members, other countries, including Greece, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Romania, and Serbia, also had delegated observers.

According to Defense Minister Benkő, the principal goal of COOPSEC 2019 is to strengthen the cooperation between CEDC members. The closing ceremony was attended by ministers of defense and joint chiefs of staff from the various member countries.

Photo credit: Ministry of Defence