Budapest, September 22 (MTI) – Consultations have begun on drafting a new national security and military strategy to respond to new security challenges, the defence minister told a parliamentary committee on Thursday.
The security situation has significantly changed in Europe over the past year as a result of the migrant crisis as well as the heightened threat of terrorism and cyberattacks, István Simicskó said in the defence and law enforcement committee.
The strategy drafted jointly by the defence, interior and foreign ministries will go before the relevant parliamentary committee for an opinion, he said.
Hungarian troops have duly fulfilled their duties inside the country and abroad amidst a changing security environment, contributing to efforts aimed at tackling mass migration by serving along Hungary’s border and in humanitarian and military missions in crisis zones abroad, Simicskó told the body.
International missions with Hungarian participation include Afghanistan, Iraq and the western Balkans, he noted.
He also noted closer and more effective military cooperation among the Visegrad Group (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia) in efforts to tackle mass migration and the increased threat of terrorism.
Simicskó mentioned a 2016-2026 military procurement programme that includes replacing outdated hardware such as An-26 cargo planes. The army also plans to purchase new or upgraded helicopters as well as upgrading armored vehicles and tanks. The related budget will rise on an annual basis, he added.
Democratic Coalition lawmaker Ágnes Vadai cited press reports that troops at army barracks had been encouraged to cast their ballots in the Oct. 2 referendum on EU migrant quotas, saying that the minister’s attempts to sway military personnel were unacceptable.
Simicskó said his participation in the campaign for the Oct. 2 ballot went beyond party affiliation because it was a “national issue” that concerned the country’s future.
Hungary’s armed forces are making strenuous peacemaking efforts, the head of parliament’s defence and law enforcement committee said.
The migrant crisis will only be resolved by tackling problems at their root, ruling Fidesz lawmaker Lajos Kósa told a press conference after the committee’s session. Accordingly, help should be given to resolve conflicts where they arise, and residents of affected countries should receive physical protection, he said.
Hungarian troops are indispensable in relieving migrant pressure on Hungary’s southern border and they also serve in peacekeeping missions abroad, Kósa noted.
Kósa highlighted Hungary’s mission in northern Iraq, which reflected “the greatest degree of trust” in Hungarian soldiers.