Hungary performing well in NATO, says defence minister
Brussels, June 25 (MTI) – The performance of Hungary within NATO is “notably good”, Defence Minister Csaba Hende said after a meeting of NATO defence ministers in Brussels on Thursday.
The minister said the meeting, held “half way” between last year’s Wales summit and next year’s meeting in Warsaw, was aimed at assessing the implementation of the declaration adopted in Wales. He said the alliance’s security environment was determined by challenges from the Middle East and southern Europe, all of which NATO needs to be prepared for.
Hende noted that Hungary increased its defence spending by over 8 percent for 2015 and is aiming for an increase of 22 percent next year. He said Hungary was a significant contributer to NATO operations and that Hungary is the first European NATO member state to send troops to the Baltic states for an extended period of time.
The minister said NATO was “on the right path” and that it had drawn lessons from the conflict in Ukraine.
He said the alliance’s approach should be “dominated” by two pairs of ideas: defence and dialogue along with strength and balance. NATO should establish dialogue with everyone in the interest of peace, and should show strength while upholding balance, Hende explained.
Following discussions with Ukraine’s defence minister on the implementation of the Minsk agreement and further support for Ukraine, Hende stressed that Hungary will continue to support Ukraine and its right to decide on its own geopolitical orientation. He said there is no military solution to the conflict, adding that long-term stability could only be established through “responsible” dialogue.
Hende pledged support for Afghanistan and praised the development of the country’s security sector.
The defence minister also held bilateral talks with the defence ministers of Canada and Bosnia-Herzegovina.