Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has said Hungary's task is to develop a strong and modern army that is capable of deterring anyone from attacking the country.
Speaking at the inauguration ceremony of the new Commander of the Hungarian Armed Forces in Parliament, the prime minister said: “If there’s trouble, then we’re the ones who have to defend the homeland.” Major General Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi has been tasked with integrating the army into Hungarian society, “winning over tens of thousands of young people” and training them to defend the homeland and respect military ideals, he said.
The prime minister said Hungary’s political leadership “made a serious mistake” before 2010 by abolishing conscription to military service without building up a modern and competent army first. “Luckily we weren’t forced to defend the homeland in an armed conflict during that time,” he said. The absence of a strong army, PM Orbán added, had been “unworthy” of Hungary’s centuries-long military traditions and international obligations. The government that came to power in 2010 inherited a weak country and a weak military “and all it could put its faith in was its NATO membership,” he said.
PM Orbán added that Hungary’s troops had proven over the course of a series of international exercises and missions “that they are just as good, if not better, than their foreign peers, earning their right to serve their homeland.” The government in 2010 had to fix the country’s finances before it could proceed with developing the military, he said.
After successfully strengthening the country’s economic and family policies, the government needed stability, predictability and money to develop a competent army and military industry, he said, praising Defense Minister Tibor Benkő for his efforts “in getting Hungary this far” and Ferenc Korom, the former commander of the armed forces, for his role in “guiding the army from a state of hopelessness to one of hopefulness”. Hungary’s allies won’t defend the country in its stead, “only together with us”, he warned. The prime minister also thanked Hungary’s soldiers for their contribution to the country’s pandemic defence efforts.