Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky - Photo: MTI

Defence minister: Hungary, Croatia defence relations ‘excellent’

Defence relations between Hungary and Croatia are excellent, Defence Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said on Thursday, after meeting Mario Banozic, his Croatian counterpart, in Budapest.

The Hungarian minister called the Headquarters Multinational Division-Centre (HQ MND-C) the two countries had set up in Szekesfehervar, in western Hungary, in 2020, a key element in that cooperation. He noted that Slovakia had joined the HQ MND-C as a “framework nation” in 2021.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky called the three countries a key for NATO’s military command in the region, saying “we know our region best, it is the three nations through which NATO can promote its military interests and command defence operations”.

The Hungarian minister noted that after the outbreak of war in Ukraine NATO had set up a combat unit in Hungary to strengthen its eastern flank. The unit includes 80 Croatian soldiers, of whom 60 are participating in the ongoing Brave Warrior 2022 military exercise at Varpalota which the two ministers would inspect.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said they also discussed the security of the Western Balkan region and were in agreement that the EU’s ALTHEA E operation was key in that. They also agreed that illegal migration was an increasing threat to Europe’s security.

He said they explored cooperation possibilities in a further development of the two countries’ defence industry.

Banozic said that Hungary and Croatia as neighbours, EU members and responsible NATO allies face several common challenges and share many interests. He called defence cooperation an important part of bilateral ties.

“Our cooperation in NATO missions demonstrate our common commitment towards strengthening collective defence,” he said.

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