Budapest, April 24 (MTI) – The opposition LMP party and an independent lawmaker are to submit a joint resolution proposal calling on the government to make real increases in defence spending in order to prove the country’s commitment to NATO.
The government should make real allocations instead of “empty statements” about Hungary’s NATO commitment, LMP co-chair Bernadett Szél told a press conference on Monday. According to some calculations, Hungary’s defence spending did not even reach one percent of GDP in 2016, and this would put Hungary at the bottom of the list of NATO member states.
She insisted that the ruling Fidesz party’s cosying up to Russia could be the reason for its “close-fisted” policy. “Yet Hungary’s role in NATO is increasingly important exactly because of Russian aggression,” she said, referring to Ukraine.
Independent lawmaker Márta Demeter said their resolution aimed to increase defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by the end of 2022. In order to achieve that goal, defence spending should be raised first to 1.2 percent in 2018 followed by a 0.2 percentage point annual increase over the next four years, she said.
The lawmakers want at least half of the increased amount to be spent on upgrading military hardware and another 20 percent on raising wages, Demeter added.
She noted that although the government has fulfilled its commitment to increase Hungary’s defence spending by 0.1 of a percentage point each year — 35-40 billion forints (EUR 112.1m) or so — this does not even cover expenses related to depreciation.
Photo: Gergely Botár / kormany.hu