Defence Minister Tibor Benkő, in a keynote speech on Tuesday, highlighted the continuation of Hungary’s military development scheme as his ministry’s top priority.
Benkő also emphasized the importance of providing military assistance to the police officers stationed at the country’s borders. Hungary’s troops have been contributing to the country’s border protection efforts since 2015, the minister said, adding it was clear that migration pressure was on the rise.
He said NATO’s withdrawal from Afghanistan last summer had not helped to improve the migrant situation on Hungary’s border. He added that the pullout of troops had not been “prepared or executed the way it should’ve been”.
Benkő thanked the soldiers for their efforts in the evacuations from Afghanistan, their roles in protecting Hungary’s borders and their assistance in the pandemic response measures.
The minister praised the military’s reservist recruitment push, noting that they now had more than 11,000 reservists compared to just 17 in 2010. He noted that the aim was to have 20,000 volunteer reservists by 2028.
Meanwhile, he said Hungary would raise its defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024.
Detailing Hungary’s past achievements and the tasks ahead, Benkő highlighted the increased military budget and the pay hikes given to soldiers. He said that the country’s military development program is planned to be completed in 2032.
Benkő said that while Hungary is a member of NATO and has to meet the alliance’s expectations, national military capabilities will remain the top priority. He called for the development of a national military that could guarantee peace and security for Hungary.
Featured photo illustration by János Mészáros/MTI