Budapest (MTI) – It is undeniable that Europe’s security has deteriorated greatly over the past several years, said Defence Minister Csaba Hende at the NATO Parliamentary Assembly in Budapest on Saturday.

Addressing the defence and security committee’s session, Hende noted that eastern and southern Europe were facing tremendous pressures from the migration wave coming from North Africa and the Middle East.

The minister said the instability in the Middle East caused by the Arab Spring as well as the crises in Yemen and Syria have all contributed to the rise of extremism and the emergence of the Islamic State (IS). Hende said IS was also a threat to Europe, adding that the continent had to be prepared for potential future terror plots.

He said climate change was also a source of future security challenges. The conflicts in Yemen and Syria have all been influenced by droughts, water shortages, and as a consequence, growing poverty which lead to further social tensions, he added.

He said NATO had given the right response to these challenges the transatlantic alliance had grown stronger.

The minister said last year’s NATO summit made decisions on issues that had never before been debated, such as increasing defence spending. He reassured the committee that Hungary would honour its commitments made at the Wales summit, citing the government’s 2016 budget bill which includes an additional 50 billion forints (EUR 163m) allocated to defence.

Hungary’s efforts in NATO’s missions as well as its increased defence spending were applauded by the delegates of several member states. The representative of Holland, however, expressed his concerns over Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s “relations with Russia’s president”. The delegate said Vladimir Putin had been proven “to be cheating and playing games” and that he could not be considered a friend of NATO.

Hende said Hungary had no disagreements with the rest of NATO on any of the major issues, and reiterated that his country would fulfil all of its obligations pertaining to the alliance and its values.

Photo: MTI


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