Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky

Defence Minister: Hungary has right to defend itself

Hungary is again at a crossroads, just as it had been in the time of Saint Stephen, its first Christian king, and this, too, is a situation in which the country has the right to defend itself, the defence minister said on Friday, marking the August 20 national holiday.

King Saint Stephen integrated Hungary into Europe economically and culturally while preserving the country’s independence and without swearing loyalty to other powers, Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky told a ceremony held by the defence ministry and the Hungarian Armed Forces.

Hungarians should follow the example of the state-founding king even today when the end of the war raging in their neighbourhood is still unseen but its consequences are increasingly obvious, and the country’s borders are exposed to an incessant pressure of migration, he said.

Given this situation, Hungary should give priority to preserving its security, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said.

Hungarians should also adopt Saint Stephen’s self-assurance and self-respect which prevented the king from letting Hungary become a vassal state, he said. The Hungarian nation has been living here since Saint Stephen’s rule, retaining its language and culture but it is still its duty to defend its homeland, he said. It was in this spirit, he added, that six years ago Hungary launched the defence development programme dubbed Zrinyi 2026, the minister added.

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