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

Defence Minister: Hungary wants peace but must be prepared to defend itself

Hungary is a member of the European Union and NATO; "we want peace but must also be prepared to defend ourselves", the defence minister said in an interview with news portal Index on Thursday.

Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky said that even being a NATO member, only those countries that had an independent, genuinely capable and powerful army could defend themselves.

“If a member state does not have that, then even NATO does not guarantee sufficient protection,” he said. The strength of NATO, he said, came from the contributions of its members, and if this task went unfulfilled, NATO would be nothing more than a few well-decorated generals in Brussels giving commands, with no one to carry them out.

“We are determined to preserve peace from a position of power, also in a military sense,” he said. “This is how the independent defence force and the security provided by NATO complement each other.”

He said Hungary argued against everyone who said sending NATO troops to Ukraine was unavoidable and necessary. For the Hungarian government this would pose a clear problem of escalation, so “we argue against its intention and aim, and we definitely cannot support it”, he added. He said Hungary’s position remained unchanged and it would not send weapons, ammunition or people to the conflict.

Commenting on Hungary’s Chad mission, he said Hungarians and the whole of Europe had a vested interest in ensuring that anyone who wants to set off from Chad should have a reason to stay instead. “If we can contribute to stability and reining in migration, then we are happy and proud to do that,” he added.

He said the development of Hungary’s military industry was extremely important, adding that it went beyond modernising the army, because military sovereignty also required a significant defence industry.

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