Defense Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said Hungary is a dedicated member of NATO.
Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky told a meeting of military and air force attaches on Monday that unlike most member states calling for a military solution to the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Hungary maintains a pro-peace position, supporting a ceasefire and peace talks. The minister pinpointed the recent pandemic, the Russia-Ukraine war, renewed tensions in the Balkans and migration as recent and ongoing security factors affecting Hungarians, adding that military diplomacy must find sovereign solutions to these challenges. He also highlighted the Serbia-Kosovo conflict from the point of view of Hungarian national security. Meanwhile, he said Europe was threatened by armed conflicts in the Middle East and Africa, giving rise to Islamic jihadist movements whose terrorists may ride migration waves. Problems must be addressed at their point of origin rather than on the borders of Europe, he added. Development of the Hungarian armed forces is reacting rapidly to the changing environment, the minister said, adding that this involved far more than the procurement of equipment. This, he said, enjoyed broad social and political support in recognition of the pressing need to revamp armed forces, a project that began a decade ago. Besides the professional armed forces, a territorial defense force has been established to defend the homeland, while the domestic defense industry, involving R&D as well as manufacturing, is advancing apace, he said. Hungary, he noted, is already spending 2% of its GDP on defense this year. Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky noted Hungary’s participation in NATO operations such as the KFOR mission in Kosovo, airspace policing over the Baltics, and helping out Slovakia in its airspace policing until the arrival of their new fighter jets. Also, Hungary will assume the presidency of the EU in the second half of 2024, providing an opportunity to promote security policy, he added. New procurements include PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers, multi-purpose H225M helicopters, Leopard 2A7 tanks, NASAMS air defense systems and Gridan armoured tactical vehicles. Next year L-39NG military trainers and light combat aircraft will be put into service, the minister noted.