Next year’s budget is also the budget of the Hungarian people’s security, the Parliamentary State Secretaries of the Ministry of Interior and the Ministry of Defence stated at their joint press conference.

Károly Kontrát, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Ministry of Interior said: the Government continues to look upon the Hungarian people’s security as a particular priority, and therefore almost all law enforcement agencies may expect the availability of excess funds next year compared with this year’s allocations. He pointed out that due to the permanent threat of immigration and terrorism that Europe is now facing, they will reinforce the counter-terrorism agencies and the protection of the borders.

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He said: the police may expect HUF 22 billion in excess funds, the Office of Immigration and Asylum will have an excess allocation of HUF 427 million, the disaster management agency will have excess funding worth some HUF 4 billion, the Counter-Terrorism Information and Criminal Analysis Centre may expect an extra HUF 339 million, while penal institutions, too, will have more funds at their disposal.

The Ministry of Interior is reckoning with extra expenditures in the magnitude of some HUF 50 billion due to mass immigration. He said: they will use these funds primarily for the operation of the already existing two transit zones erected in Tompa and Röszke, as well as for the commissioning of the new border guard forces. He further pointed out that they will make available all technical and personnel conditions that are necessary for the protection of the borders, but should the need emerge, the available allocation is open and further resources may be made available for the purpose.

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From the excess funding worth HUF 22 billion of the police force, he made specific mention of the continuation of the career model, reiterating that thanks to the new service legislation which entered into force in June 2015, the personnel concerned received a 30 per cent pay rise on average, and an additional 5 per cent in 2016 as well as in 2017. This programme will also continue in 2018. The Government recognises and appreciates the work done by the personnel of the police force, he added.

He also mentioned the replacement of the police car fleet, for the purposes of which they wish to allocate excess funds in the magnitude of HUF 5 billion, and the refurbishment of the headquarters of the former border guards in Labanc utca which will accommodate the Rapid Response Police National Office for Investigation.

Tamás Vargha, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Defence Ministry highlighted that the defence budget will amount to HUF 427.3 billion which represents an excess of HUF 73.6 billion. The continued reinforcement of Hungary’s security cannot be achieved without the reinforcement of the Hungarian Defence Forces, and next year’s budget will cater for this, he added.

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He also mentioned that members of the defence forces, soldiers, will continue to take part in the protection of the borders, and described their cooperation with the police as exemplary. In Mr Vargha’s evaluation, with the advent of the summer, we should prepare for the intensification of the pressure of migration in Europe even beyond what we have experienced to date.

He further reported that there will be more money available at the defence forces for developments next year, and they will also prepare a new security strategy. He reiterated: it is the aspiration of the Hungarian Government that the percentage of defence expenditures to GDP should reach 2 per cent by 2024. In addition to the complex defence forces development programme and the modernisation of military technology, he made specific mention of the pay rise of members of the defence forces which will, in his view, also raise the living standards of the families of those serving in the army.

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As he said, members of the defence forces are the most precious resource of the army, and they would therefore also like to achieve results in the improvement of their working conditions: in addition to the development of the defence forces in general, they will also use funds for the refurbishment of barracks.

He remarked: beyond creating modern and potent Hungarian Defence Forces, another goal is to have voluntary reservist units in every district. According to Mr Vargha, defence is a national cause, and as such must be the cause of every one of us.

(Ministry of Interior/MTI)