Foreign AffairsSecurity

Hungarian Parliament Hosts NATO Conference On Urgent European Security Issues

Mass migration, terrorism, hybrid threats, fake news and growing nationalism in Ukraine were in focus at the 21st International Parliamentary NATO Conference organised in Budapest.

In his opening address, deputy parliamentary speaker Csaba Hende said international relations were characterised by uncertainty and unpredictability. In recent years, the threats facing the Euro-Atlantic region have grown more serious and complex, he told the conference. Threats like hybrid warfare, mass migration and its links to terrorism require new, joint solutions from NATO member states, Hende said. He said cyberspace has become one of the most critical “battlefields” in the world today on which attacks can range from the disruption of the decision-making mechanisms of countries to serious attacks on a country’s critical infrastructure.

Péter Siklósi, the defence ministry’s deputy state secretary for defence policy, said that significant economic, demographic, military and environmental changes in the world have worsened the global security situation over the past years. Social media has at the same time become a platform for information “warfare”, he noted. Hungary is in a difficult situation, he said, noting that neighbouring Ukraine is tackling enduring hybrid warfare. Europe, as a continent, faces the task of tackling a long-term migrant crisis over the coming years, he added. NATO, including Hungary, must therefore bolster its efforts to prepare for all possible threats, Siklósi said.

Foreign ministry state secretary Levente Magyar said the Hungarian government welcomed NATO’s decision to boost its role in the fight against international terrorism. Hungary is taking part in this fight and will increase the number of Hungarian soldiers stationed in Iraq by 30%, to 200, from next year.

Rasa Jukneviciene, vice president of the NATO Parliamentary Assembly, said that tasks included more effective action against those distributing fake news and propaganda. She said that amid the current security environment, threats posed by Russia in hybrid war fare should be interpreted as “the Kremlin’s war fare against the West”. She made special mention of Russia’s impact on the media and attempts to influence elections in other countries. The Euro-Atlantic communit y is in hybrid conf lict with “Putin’s Russia”, she said, adding that the Russian president was focusing on “weakening Euro- Atlantic security”.

via hungarymatters.hu and MTI; feautred photo: Veronika Dévényi (honvedelem.hu)