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The national security cabinet has adopted Hungary’s new national security strategy, while the country’s military strategy is being drafted, Defence Minister Tibor Benkő told a meeting on Tuesday, evaluating last year and looking ahead to plans for this year.

Outlining the national security strategy to senior military officials, Benkő said its military chapters were focused on Europe’s defence capabilities and the strengthening of relations with France and the UK.

Benkő said three more military attache offices will open this year in addition to those opened last year at three embassies.

NATO, he said, is increasingly preoccupied with two major threats that it has identified: one from the east (Russia), the other from the south, said Benkő.

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Considering the security environment, the government is in the midst of creating a modern, capable army with loyal soldiers committed to serving their country, Benkő said. “This way we can guarantee the country’s security while contributing to international security,” he said.

Regarding the Western Balkans, Benkő said peace in the region was of key importance for Hungary, which aims for a task-based system that is even stronger, more reliable and professional than the one operated so far, the minister said.

Besides seeing to operations in the Western Balkans and the Baltic states, the Hungarian army has initiated establishing a central European multinational and regional command for special operations, he said.

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Benkő noted NATO’s expectation that member states plough 20 percent of defence spending into developments, saying that Hungary had outperformed that goal.

Within Hungary’s Zrinyi 2026 defence and development programme, Benkő noted the army has procured multifunctional Airbus helicopters. Four of the helicopters delivered in December, and the army will receive another 16 by 2021.

Benkő also cited the government’s pledge to raise defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by 2024.

Featured photo by Noémi Bruzák/MTI