Defence Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky (m) - Photo: Facebook

Defence Minister: As a committed NATO member, Hungary is to continue developing its armed forces

Hungary as a committed member of NATO will continue to develop its armed forces, the defence minister said after a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday.

Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky told MTI that an increasing number of member states aimed to meet the NATO requirement of spending at least 2 percent of their GDP on defence. “Hungary has fulfilled that requirement since 2023, for which the country has received NATO’s recognition,” he said, adding that it also showed the Hungarian government’s commitment to ensuring security for the Hungarian people and fulfilling NATO’s requirements.

“Toady’s meeting highlighted again the need for NATO member states to increase spending on their own security,” Szalay-Bobrovniczky said.

He noted that the meeting’s main focus was to review and prepare defence issues for a meeting of heads of state and government to be held in Washington, DC, in July to mark the 75th anniversary of NATO. These include finalising NATO’s plan on enhancing the alliance’s collective defence force, and its effectiveness will feature high on the July meeting’s agenda, the minister said.

The need to expand defence industry capacities was also highlighted at Thursday’s meeting, the minister said, adding that Hungary was “at the forefront in this regard since the country already began building its own defence industry base before the war broke out in Ukraine”.

“We must continue modernising the Hungarian Armed Forces, and as a member on NATO’s eastern flank we must take a significant share in strengthening the alliance’s defence capabilities,” the minister added.

He called it a priority for Hungary to further strengthen NATO’s multinational division headquarters in Szekesfehervar, in central Hungary, in partnership with Croatia and Slovakia.

The NATO-Ukraine Council also held a meeting on Thursday at which the Ukrainian defence minister gave an outline of the situation in his country, while NATO members reviewed support provided to Ukraine so far, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said, adding that Hungary’s position was unchanged in that it would not supply weapons to Ukraine and only a prompt ceasefire and peace negotiations could end the war.

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