Defence Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky - Photo: Facebook

Defence Minister: Peace ‘most important’

Defence Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky told the Budapest Security Dialogue conference on Friday that Europe "is strangely consumed by war fever", even though "the most important thing is peace".

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at the second day of the conference held together with a defence industry expo in Budapest: “Everyone is talking about the war, yet peace is our greatest treasure.”

The conference was highlighting the importance of European defence capabilities, the minister said, adding that central Europe and the Western Balkans “must raise their voices in that very important question.”

Regarding the war in Ukraine, Szaly-Bobrovniczky said the conflict was constantly “carrying the threat of escalation”. The war, he said, was at a critical point: “the West has decided that the conflict should be globalised, and it has now reached all corners of the world”. The Russian aggressor’s army, meanwhile, has been boosted so that “we don’t know who could stop it”, he said.

The only solution would be an immediate ceasefire and peace talks, he added.

Szalay-Bobrovniczky said the conflict in Israel should be “watched carefully and handled responsively”, as it also threatens world trade.

Further, a lack of security, uncertainty and war are also at the root of terrorism and migration, he said.

Hungary can’t afford not to be strong, he said. While the country is a member of NATO, which is “the ultimate security guarantee”, it cannot rely exclusively on external help, he said. Hence the extremely robust military development plan, he added.

Meanwhile, Europe must do more for its own safety, he said. The EU’s enlargement would be the best way of boosting security at the Western Balkans, he added.

Slovak Defence minister Robert Kalinak agreed that European integration was key to peace and stability, and lamented that Western Balkans integration was lagging behind.

The EU promised integration to Western Balkans countries in 2003, but Croatia was the only one to become a member so far, he added, and welcomed that the topic was returning to the EU’s agenda.

Kalinak also said Hungarian-Slovak cooperation was the best yet, “and the key to that success is to concentrate only on topics we agree on.”

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