The Hungarian government is working to ensure the security of Hungarians in NATO at a time of war and growing migration pressure, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky told MTI after a two-day meeting of NATO defence ministers on Brussels on Wednesday.
At the meeting, the ministers reviewed the state of strengthening defences of the alliance’s eastern flank, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said. Of the four new battle groups in the region, the Hungarian was the first to reach full operational capacity, he said.
Meanwhile, Hungary also considers the security of the Western Balkans a priority, he said. The country’s participation in international missions in Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina has been “successful and appreciated”, he said.
Hungary will have raised its defence spending to 2 percent of GDP by the end of this year, a year earlier than NATO’s deadline for the commitment, he said. The NATO summit in Vilnius in July may decide to further increase that ratio, he noted.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, the minister said: “We still want peace. All signs point to the war being drawn out, and since human lives are on the line, we must repeat: we can only save lives through peace. We continue to oppose all steps leading to an escalation,” he added.
Investments in defence industry will play a large role in preparing this year’s NATO summit, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said. “Hungary is a step ahead in that regard, thanks to the investments strengthening our defence capacity but also the economy and our international position,” he said.