Orbán: ‘The stronger we are, the smaller the chance of being dragged into war’
At the event in Zalaegerszeg, in southwest Hungary, Orbán said Hungarians knew that “the best war is the one we manage to avoid.”
“The stronger we are, the smaller the chance of being dragged into war,” he said.
When building an army, “we prepare for the worst but we also open the door to a favourable future,” he said.
Hungary partnered with German defence industry company Rheinmetall last year on the construction of the plant.
Orbán said he had earlier pinpointed defence as the most important industrial sector of the 2020’s. The most important task of the decade is to “create an Armed Forces that are capable of defending Hungary and enforce its interests, and which are ready to be deployed anywhere within the country or abroad if necessary,” he said.
Hungary needs the cutting-edge technology represented by the plant under construction and the nearby ZalaZone test track, he said.
Regarding Hungarian-German ties, Orbán said that while the political relations are “complicated”, economic ties are in excellent shape, and seem to garner political backing.
The cooperation is in Hungary’s interest, “not only because Germany is strong but also because Hungarians are good at cooperating with Germans.”
The new plant is a “new bar” for the Hungarian Armed Forces: “We need soldiers who are as good as our equipment.”
Besides manufacturing, Hungary hopes to draw tasks such as development, testing and the training of experts to Hungary as well, “in cooperation with our German friends,” he said.
He praised Germany’s decision to boost its defence capabilities in view of the war in Ukraine. Germany has made one of the most significant decisions regarding the future of Europe, he said. “European security cannot be guaranteed without Germany,” he said.
Based on the fact that Hungarian-German cooperation in the field had already begun earlier, it has good chances to become long-term, he said.
Orbán thanked all those who helped set up the plant.
Rheinmetall CEO Armin Papperger said the plant was the result of talks over three years, where Rheinmetall leadership and Orbán agreed that “our peoples need protection and we need defence capabilities and national sovereignty to do so.”
The company plans to “open the production line for the most cutting-edge armed vehicle within three months”, he said.
Rheinmetall plans to add an ammunition factory to the plant in coming years, he said.
Innovation and technology minister Laszlo Palkovics, Defence Minister Tibor Benko and army chief Romulusz Ruszin-Szendi also attended the event.