Hungarian Gripens to again police Baltic airspace in 2025

A decision has been made concerning Hungary, as a loyal NATO ally, to again participate in policing Baltic airspace in 2025, for the fourth time, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto said on Friday.
31. March 2023 17:09

Szijjarto said during a break at a meeting of the Bucharest Nine in Lodz that Hungary was fulfilling its obligations as a reliable ally. This year defence spending will exceed 2 percent of GDP, a target fulfilled ahead of schedule, while the target of spending at least 20 percent of the military budget on developments was already fulfilled four years ago, he added.

Hungary has participated in the protection of the Baltic states’ airspace three times so far, and a decision on the fourth term has been made, he said. The Multinational Division Command for Central Europe based in Hungary has reached a level of operations that the chief commander of NATO in Europe will soon pay a visit there, he added.

“Hungary is ready to ensure that peaceful conditions are established or kept in several points around the world, with Hungary’s participation in the Western Balkans being especially significant,” he said. “Hungary acting as commanded in the Kosovo mission has been clearly appreciated by NATO and we are ready to take over the command of the Bosnia-Herzegovina peace mission next year, where already four hundred Hungarians serve,” he added.

Hardly more than three decades after the end of the cold war, central Europe is again facing extremely serious security risks, Szijjarto said. This region always had a vested interest in civilised cooperation between East and West, and whenever conflicts emerged, the region lost out on them, he added.

“It is fully against our national interests and our national security interests when there is a conflict between East and West,” he said. “Central Europe will only lose out on a re-developing cold war.”

“Currently there seems to be an increasing risk of the escalation of war in Ukraine; the war is becoming more brutal every day and the danger of the escalation of war is growing every day,” he said.

“Never before had there been as clear references to nuclear capabilities as today,” he said. “Never before has the danger of this regional war becoming a global war, a world war, been as imminent as today.”

Szijjarto said it was therefore extremely important to “make the voice of peace better heard” and “to make it clear that lives can only be saved by peace”.

“Fortunately, in a global comparison, the supporters of peace are in majority, but we can witness in Europe the spread of an atmosphere of war that has made the rhetoric of war louder and easier to hear than the voice of peace,” he said.

“We are in the 25th hour and if we cannot create a situation for ceasefire and peace talks to start within the foreseeable future then the security risks currently experienced in Europe will become ever more severe,” Szijjarto added.

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