Politics

At Hungarian Atlantic Council’s 25th Anniversary, Defense Minister Simicskó Emphasizes Importance of Transatlantic Relations and of NATO

Speaking yesterday at a conference in Budapest marking the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Atlantic Council, Hungarian Defense Minister István Simicskó argued that “more must be done for our security,” according to wire service MTI.

Simicskó emphasized the importance of NATO and of transatlantic relationships for Hungarian national security.

According to its website,

The Hungarian Atlantic Council was established in 1992 as a non-profit non-governmental organization. Its original mission was to promote Hungary’s NATO accession and to contribute to the broadest possible acceptance of Euro-Atlantic principles and values in Hungarian society. The present activity of the Council aims at integrating into Hungarian public life of the Euro-Atlantic principles. Its primary goal is to strengthen Atlantic cooperation with other member states, and to harmonize the Atlantic and the national idea in Hungary.

The Council, whose president is Dr. E Sylvester Vizi, former President of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, celebrated its 25th anniversary with a conference attended by Hungarian, European, and NATO military and political leaders. Speakers at yesterday’s conference included Tacan Ildem, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy (read an exclusive interview with Ildem here); Levente Benkő Deputy State Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade of Hungary; Fabrizio W. Luciolli, President of the Atlantic Treaty Association; Zbynek Pavlacik, President of the Czech Jagello 2000 Association for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation; and Rastislav Kacer, President of the Slovak Atlantic Commission.

Budapest, 2017. március 9. Tacan Ildem, a NATO közkapcsolatokért felelõs helyettes-fõtitkára (b) és Simicskó István honvédelmi miniszter a Magyar Atlanti Tanács 25. évfordulója alkalmából rendezett jubileumi ünnepségen a Magyar Tudományos Akadémián 2017. március 9-én. Mögöttük jobbra Lomnici Zoltán, az Emberi Méltóság Tanácsának (EMT) elnöke. MTI Fotó: Koszticsák Szilárd
Hungarian Defense Minister István Simicskó (right), shaking hands with Tacan Ildem, NATO’s Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy, at a conference at the Hungarian Academy of Sciences celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Hungarian Atlantic Council (Photo: MTI- Szilárd Koszticsák) 

The Hungarian Defense Minister praised the work of the Council, and described the work performed over the past quarter-century by the organizations members as an important example of pushing to expand and nurture transatlantic thinking and relationships. Simicskó added that the council’s work was crucial in the expansion of transatlantic thinking in Hungary, not only in military and national security terms, but in popular thought as well.

The Defense Minister also argued that, while there are certainly many dangers in the world today in every direction, it is not enough to recognize these risks, but rather “we must act against them, together.”

Turning his attention to the future, Simicskó discussed his view that military power and capabilities will remain vital for guaranteeing security. He added that Hungary is striving to develop a military which is capable of meeting security challenges of the future.

Simicskó said the Hungarian government will set up a defense technology research institute to lay the foundations for a shared knowledge center which harnesses Hungarian and international scientific innovations. The minister added that the government is working on ways to raise the defense budget to the NATO target of 2% of GDP as speedily as possible

He also discussed the Zrinyi 2026 national security and military strength enhancement program, whose goal is to, over the course of the next decade, provide the type of training for the Hungarian Defense Force that will allow it to respond to the security challenges of the future as well.

Via MTI, Hungary Matters, and the Hungarian Atlantic Council Website

Images via MTI