Klara Dobrev (r) and Ferenc Gyurcsany – Photo: MTI

Dobrev calls for ‘strong, honest army’

Klara Dobrev, the shadow prime minister of the opposition Democratic Coalition (DK), said at a forum in the northern town of Gyongyos that Hungary needed a "strong, well-trained and honest" military, and for that a "strong and honest homeland" was required.

Referring to mass sackings and changes to the pension system of soldiers, Dobrev insisted that the government had put the army in an “impossible situation” and had “humiliated soldiers”. Hungary, she added, had “ceased to be a predictable and secure European democracy”.

The security of Hungarians “should not be considered an ideological issue,” Dobrev said, outlining her party’s defence agenda late on Friday. “What we need is a patriotic security policy built on a national consensus rather than [policies] pretending to be Christian and right wing.”

Dobrev said Hungary’s membership of NATO and the EU provided a “security umbrella”, while the strength of the Hungarian army and patriotism were the pillars of Hungary’s security. The weakening of this alliance, she said, was the greatest challenge, adding that the greatest danger of all was Prime Minister Viktor Orban government’s “treasonous pro-Putin policy”.

Agnes Vadai, DK’s shadow defence minister, said a priority would be to desegregate Hungary from its “international isolation generated by Orban’s security policy”. A new national security strategy was needed, she said, adding that DK was working out a comprehensive national defence strategy, and a key policy would be providing soldiers deprived of their service pension and those over 45 who were “sacked indiscriminately” after 25 years of service with “financial and moral compensation”.

Responding to DK on Saturday, the ruling Fidesz party said in a statement that it was “the dollar left” that would imperil Hungary’s security, and in obedience to their “foreign clients, the Gyurcsanys would plunge the country into war”, cut back the armed forces and “give away our weapons”.

The statement said the party of Ferenc Gyurcsany had already shown in government what defending the homeland meant to them, adding that his administration had “wasted our military assets and reduced the military staff to an all-time low”.

Even now, it added, defence would be headed by someone “whose goal is to make cutbacks to the army”.

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