“Extremely close defence and defence industry cooperation is to be established between Hungary and Germany; a Central European NATO division command is being set up with the support of Germany”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Hungarian public media on Thursday in Berlin.
On the sidelines of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s official visit to Berlin, the Minister held talks with Minister of Defence Ursula von der Leyen, Chairman of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee Norbert Röttgen (CDU) and Chairman of German Parliament’s European Affairs Committee Gunther Krichbaum (CDU).
Reporting on his meetings, Mr. Szijjártó highlighted: “The foundations for defence cooperation are provided by the fact that economic cooperation between Hungary and Germany is extremely close, in addition to which they are both working in alliance within NATO to assure that Europe is as safe as possible”.
“Bilateral military and defence industry cooperation will be closer than ever before, one of the important foundations of which is the fact that in the interests of the modernisation of the Hungarian Defence Force and the improvement of its regional competitiveness, a decision has been made to procure 20 new Airbus military helicopters”, he told the press.
Mr. Szijjártó also spoke about the fact that on examining the distribution of NATO’s division commands, it can be seen that the alliance has 22 division commands, but none of them can be found within the Central European region. “Accordingly, Hungary, Slovakia, Croatia and Slovenia have jointly begun the establishment of a multinational regional division command”, he explained. “Host nation support for this cooperation will be provided by Germany”, he added.
“This joint division command will be part of NATO’s military structure and will achieve full operational capability by 2022; it will be a major added value towards guaranteeing the security of Hungary and Central Europe”, he noted.
The Foreign Minister also spoke about the fact that, in addition, Hungarian-German military cooperation has been extended to included military healthcare cooperation in view of the fact that NATO’s Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine in Budapest also has a department in Munich. “We confirmed our commitment towards the establishment of a joint military hospital capacity”, he added.
“Furthermore, Hungarian military personnel are serving together with German soldiers in several locations around the world, including Afghanistan and the Western Balkans, and
in the near future 44 Hungarian soldiers will be serving under German command within the framework of the NATO Response Force,
in addition to which five Hungarian officers are performing important duties at the Multinational Joint Headquarters in Ulm”, he continued.
“Cooperation between Hungary and Germany is so close, the friendship between Hungary and Germany is so important, and German and Hungarian interests coincide to such an extent, that it is high time to begin talking not only about that one topic with relation to which we are undeniably in dispute, and in addition to migration for us to finally also place onto the agenda all of the other issues that are important from a European or bilateral perspective”,
Mr. Szijjártó said. “There are currently six thousand German enterprises operating in Hungary, and according to the latest survey by the Hungarian-German Chamber of Commerce and Industry, they are more satisfied now than they ever have been over in recent decades”, he stated, adding that: “These enterprises employ 300 thousand Hungarians and enjoy all of the advantages of Hungary’s attractive investment environment”.
“The two countries represent a similar position with relation to many European foreign policy issues and recently concluded an agreement on deploying water industry capacities in Middle Eastern and North African countries that are caring for tens of thousands of refugees”, the Hungarian Foreign Minister told the press.
“The interests and values of Hungary and Germany coincide on many points with relation to general policy and foreign policy, and accordingly it is high time we began concentrating on these, besides maintaining opposite positions with relation to a few migration-related issues”,
Mr. Szijjártó said.
Photo: Szilárd Koszticsák/MTI
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade/MTI