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Government official: Development of defence industry a priority of Hungarian EU presidency

Less than six months before the start of Hungary's European Union presidency, the bloc's defence policy is focused on the development of the defence industry, the war in Ukraine and the security of the Sahel, the state secretary for defence policy and defence industry said after a meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels late on Wednesday.

According to a ministry statement, Zsolt Kutnyanszky said participants had watched a video message from Rustem Umerov, the Ukrainian defence minister, asking for further support for Ukraine.

Several states’ representatives argued for the procurement of more ammunition and handing over “equipment in national reserves” to Ukraine, Kutnyanszky said.

At the same time, he said Hungary stood by its stance that it would not hand over or sell weapons or ammunition to Ukraine. The country “constructively abstained” last year, when the matter was voted on in the European Commission, he added.

The meeting focused on the EU’s technological and defence industry, and the matter of a joint defence industry strategy, he said. Hungary has already started boosting its defence industry, with a view to supplying its own market as well as entering the European one, he said.

The defence industry’s development will be one of the focal points of the Hungarian EU presidency in the second half of 2024, he added.

Discussing security issues in the Sahel and the Red Sea region, Kutnyanszky noted Hungary’s active role in supporting stability there. It is launching a complex defence, agricultural and development programme in Chad, he said.

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