Minister of Defence Dr. Tibor Benkő and Austrian Defence Minister Mario Kunasek met for a working lunch in Weiden am See in Burgenland on 8 October.

At the border talks, which were initiated by Austria, the two countries’ defence ministers reviewed opportunities for European Union and regional cooperation, as well as the situation in the Western Balkans.

At the meeting, Minister Benkő said: “Austria is one of our priority partners within the field of defence cooperation, which in future we must reinforce further within the framework of the European Union, as well as within a bilateral and regional framework”.

At the meeting, Hungary’s Defence Minister highlighted the fact that the security of Europe and European citizens is most important for Hungary. In agreement with his Austrian counterpart, he stressed the important of the EU’s border protection, with relation to which the next phase of the migration crisis management exercises held in Austria in September 2017 will be held in Hungary in 2019 under the auspices of the Ministry of Defence. “Border defence and emergency management falls within the sphere of competence of our interior ministries, but we must also be prepared for support by military forces if the need arises, and this absolutely requires closer cooperation and joint exercises”, the Minister emphasised.

With relation to the situation in the Western Balkans, Mr. Benkő said the region’s security is extremely important to both Austria and Hungary. “Establishing permanent peace within the region requires the continuation of long-term cooperation between our tow countries, good examples of which are the Hungarian and Austrian contributions to the EUFOR-ALTHEA operation and to KFOR”, he said.

((Ministry of Defence))