Bucharest, November 8 (MTI) – Besides focusing on the threat posed by Russian aggression, NATO should also keep an eye on Europe’s crisis stemming from a flow of migrants into the continent from the Middle East and North Africa, a Hungarian foreign ministry official said on Tuesday.
Speaking to Hungarian public media after a closed-door ministerial meeting of central and eastern European NATO member states in Bucharest, state secretary László Szabó said it had become clear since last year’s first such regional meeting that more and more countries are aware of the threat posed by mass migration. Nearly all countries have come to acknowledge the need to protect the EU’s external borders, he said.
The state secretary said migration also raises the threat of terrorism, adding that NATO is now making significant efforts in handling the migrant crisis both in the Aegean and the Mediterranean Sea.
Szabó also stressed the importance of NATO and the EU contributing to each other’s efforts instead of cancelling each other out.
The state secretary said the Hungarian government is increasing its defence budget by 0.1 percentage point of GDP each year, which over ten years will double the country’s defence spending. Hungary has also taken on major roles in the NATO missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, he said.
Szabó noted that the new NATO forward command post in Székesfehérvár, in central Hungary — one of eight such command centres being built in the region — will begin operating in the coming days.
The meeting was attended by representatives from Bulgaria, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Slovakia, as well as NATO Deputy Secretary-General Rose Gottemoeller.