Speaking at the annual conference of defence, military and air attachés, Minister of Defence Dr. István Simicskó announced that the developments occurring in all areas of the Hungarian Defence Forces will involve the continuing expansion of the military attaché network as well.

At the event, Lt.-Gen. József Kovács, Director-General of the Military National Security Service stated that the developments and expansions concerning the military diplomacy network will continue until 2020.

At a press briefing held in the break of the conference, István Simicskó noted that since the 1989 political transition, the Hungarian Defence Forces had gone through “a series of lows”, which also affected military diplomacy, so that a number of attaché officers were closed down. We would like to reverse this trend, the minister said, adding that last year the military attaché’s office was reopened in Zagreb. This year, attaché’s offices will reopen in Bratislava and Prague, and next year the military diplomacy network will be further developed in Vienna and Skopje.

In his presentation held at the annual conference of defence, military and air attachés, the minister of defence emphasized that the world and the security situation have changed. In this regard, the recent new challenges are a wake-up call – ones such as Brexit, mass illegal migration and terrorist attacks carried out in major European cities and elsewhere on a daily basis.

According to István Simicskó, the crisis of the European Union is at once a crisis of civilization, as we can see that the western civilization is losing its influence while Asia is becoming more and more dominant. He noted that the Islamic world is characterized by demographic increase, whereas the number of Christians is decreasing around the world.

The minister said that an important question concerns what the migrants flooding to Europe from the Islamic world will be able to do, and whether Europe is able to modernize the world of Islam. According to István Simicskó, however, the second- and third-generation immigrants already in Europe have been unable to “modernize”, and to integrate into the western world.

Understanding our world has become more difficult, the minister told the journalists, and stated that it is hypocritical of the leading states of the European Union and the leaders of the EU to be unable to face up to the problems. István Simicskó pointed out that we must take joint action to protect European values. This is what Hungary has been calling for, together with the V4 countries and also with Croatia, Slovenia and Austria in an expanded V4 cooperation.

In István Simicskó’s opinion, the countries of Central Europe perceive the threats similarly and recommend similar solutions to the security of the region and Europe as a whole.  The minister went on emphasizing that the immigration policy of the United States is also similar to that of Hungary, and the two countries have similar views on the threats of migration and on counterterrorism.  In this connection, he underlined the importance of the two-thirds vote in Parliament to increase the troop levels and extend the mandate of Hungary’s military engagement in the Global Coalition to Counter ISIS.

Speaking at the conference held for attachés, the minister of defence emphasized that from a security policy perspective, the world has entered a new phase, and we no longer can routinely react to new types of security challenges. István Simicskó said that in our modern world, state-of-the-art technology has a key role in military security, but “man is of the highest importance”, so that the preparedness of the soldiers and attachés of the Hungarian Defence Forces is relied on as far as possible.

The minister explained that equipping the Hungarian Defence Forces with modern warfighting skills is a priority, so that almost all branches of service will be strengthened in the framework of the Zrínyi 2026 national defence and armed forces modernization program. By way of example, he mentioned that the ten-year development plan covers the areas of airlift, helicopter capability, air defence and cyber defence as well. The minister announced that the plans include the increase of defence industry capacities in the production of weapons and munitions, and the development and expansion of the Military Hospital in Budapest is also high on the agenda.

In addition, the military would like to involve the citizens too, and intends to launch a recruitment campaign for the reorganization of the volunteer reserve system. The aim is to set up a volunteer reserve company for territorial defence in every district of the country, he added. The development of the Hungarian Defence Forces guarantees the enhanced security of Hungary, István Simicskó pointed out, and expressed hope that the completion of the Zrínyi 2026 development project will make the Hungarian Defence Forces really powerful, which will serve to strengthen the European Union and NATO as well.

(Ministry of Defence, MTI)