On Thursday, 4 May the ministers of defence of Slovakia and Hungary met in Budapest to discuss issues in security policy, the Visegrád Four (V4) cooperation, illegal migration and the military-to-military relations between the two countries.

Slovak Defence Minister Peter Gajdos arrived in Budapest at the invitation of Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó. After the meeting, Dr. István Simicskó told Hungarian news agency MTI that the Hungarian–Slovak relations are currently on a historical high, and the military cooperation is also outstanding.

At the meeting, the two sides made decisions about combined exercises and training, and expressed their commitment to further strengthening the V4 cooperation. The Slovak defence minister has decided that the Slovak posts will be filled in the Budapest-based NATO Centre of Excellence for Military Medicine, the Hungarian minister told MTI.

Dr. István Simicskó pointed out that they can see what is happening in Western Europe, and hear the almost daily news about acts of terrorism. They concluded that they share the same view about the security situation of Europe and the world, and identify the same threats in it. Migration and terrorism go hand in hand, the minister noted. They agreed about the importance of protecting the external Schengen borders and also about the need to manage all conflicts in the crisis areas.

At the same time, Dr. István Simicskó thanked Slovakia for its help with the protection of Hungary’s southern borders. The minister also said that in Brussels and elsewhere, they must represent their collaboration and cooperation, as well as their similar ways of finding solutions to the situations that pose threats to security.

It is important that this “Central European way of thinking and worldview” be as strong as possible in the European Union as well. We are committed to this achieving this goal, Dr. István Simicskó stated.

The minister underlined that they can set an example of regional cooperation for other regions of Europe, adding that therefore, they intend to further enhance the V4 cooperation.

Peter Gajdos told MTI that he discussed many important issues with his Hungarian counterpart about the security situation of the world and Europe, including terrorism, illegal migration and extremism. He added that terrorism was also a significant topic at the discussion.

The Slovak defence minister spoke appreciatively about the Hungarian role in the fight against the terrorist organization which calls itself the Islamic State, adding that Slovakia is also planning to assist the international coalition, for example in the field of training.

The Slovak defence minister pointed out that both countries are members of NATO, the European Union and the V4 cooperation. “Our transatlantic and pro-European orientation is entirely clear”, Peter Gajdos said. As an example of excellent cooperation, he highlighted the V4 Battle Group, in which soldiers from four countries are working together during combined training events.

The Slovak minister also underlined the importance of cooperation with the Baltic States. He said that they would like to maintain a permanent presence in these member states so that they can provide deterrence “against possible attacks”, and protect NATO’s eastern flank.

(Ministry of Defence, honvedelem.hu)