Budapest, March 12 (MTI) – For NATO to stay effective Europe must do more for its security, Hungarian Defence Minister Csaba Hende said in an interview posted on the website of the National University of Public Service.
Retaining transatlantic relations to the same extent as in the past will be a key challenge, he said.
US attention to Europe is diminishing and major cuts in defence spending have brought to surface tensions within the alliance, he said.
For this reason, the European allies should increase their defence spending and strengthen regional cooperation. Should they fail to do so, transatlantic relations will weaken and NATO’s efficacy will decline, he said.
The minister noted that adopting NATO’s mentality had been the biggest challenge Hungary’s armed forces faced upon NATO accession 15 years ago. It took several years to cope with the task, but the involvement of Hungarian soldiers in NATO operations and training has greatly accelerated the process, he said.
“NATO membership is the cornerstone of Hungary’s security.”
Hende called NATO accession an “historic achievement and a major recognition of the newly free Hungary.” With this step, the country became member of the world’s strongest military alliance and “again joined the advanced western democracies,” he said.