Prime minister Viktor Orbán – Photo: PMO

Orbán: Hungary needs competent army capable of guaranteeing peace

Hungarians need a competent military that can guarantee peace and serve as a deterrent, "because those who won't have strength won't have truth, either", Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said in Budapest on Saturday.

Addressing an oath-taking ceremony of volunteer soldiers and the inauguration of Lynx armoured infantry fighting vehicles, Orbán said it was time to “revive the military spirit within us”, arguing that a nation incapable of doing so “will certainly fail in the future”.

“There are nations that have already begun making preparations and we can’t fall behind in this, either,” the prime minister said.

“We can’t bury our head in the sand like an ostrich,” Orbán said, adding that “if things keep going as they are, the sanctions will shake Europe”. He said it also appeared that Europe would have to prepare itself for a protracted war.

Though the swearing in of 250 volunteer troops “is reason enough to be happy, we need a few more battalions like this”, Orbán said. He added, at the same time, that the inauguration of the Lynx combat vehicles marked an important milestone of Hungary’s ongoing military upgrade.

The Hungarian nation was known for centuries for its military virtues, Orbán said, adding that Hungarians were at their best when “there is an obstacle to overcome”.

“We are now living in a time when we have good reason to discover threats at the country’s borders,” he said, noting the war in Ukraine and the flow of weapons from the West to the frontlines. Also, Hungary’s borders are under siege by groups of armed illegal migrants, he added.

Orbán noted that the primary task in the past had been to reorganise the Hungarian state. The economy has now made up lost ground, the crime rate has been pushed down, public safety has been restored and public administration renewed, but there is still more to be done when it comes to the Hungarian military, he said.

Hungary is building a modern military because the country needs soldiers who want to serve their country as well as effective, modern weapons, Orbán said.

Because the government wants people to be able to move between military service and civilian life, the government has made changes to the institution of voluntary service, the prime minister noted. Volunteers are the bridge between civilians and the military, he said, arguing that they were the soldiers whom the public encounters most often.

Orbán added that more recruitment campaigns will be launched in December.

Concerning the inauguration of the Lynx armoured vehicles, he said the military industry was being brought to Hungary, noting that the government was taking steps to develop this sector.

Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky, the defence minister, said that the Lynx combat vehicle was one of the most modern pieces of military equipment available.

Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi, commander of the military, welcomed the government’s support for the military and that companies and investors like German defence giant Rheinmetall were supplying the Hungarian army with 21st-century technology. He also thanked those who were committing themselves to voluntary military service.

Armin Papperger, Rheinmetall’s CEO, said it was advantageous that Hungary had a government that took care of its military. He said it was clear that the new soldiers were committed to defending their country, Europe and NATO.

According to the defence ministry, Rheinmetall is set to deliver 46 Lynx combat vehicles to Hungary by 2023. It will deliver 172 by 2029, which will be manufactured in Hungary.

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