At the induction ceremony for the new Chief of Staff of the Hungarian Defence Forces in the Cupola Hall of the Parliament Building in Budapest on Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that defending Hungary is not the duty of NATO or the European Union, but of Hungary itself.

The Prime Minister said that Hungary cannot exist without a strong army.

He added that any nation which is unable to defend its country is not worthy of it.

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Mr. Orbán also stressed that after the last two government terms’ successes in policy on the Constitution, Hungarian communities abroad, the economy and families, a particular priority for the new term about to begin will be reinforcement of national security.

In relation to the importance of security – which he described as a precious commodity in the present age – he pointed out that in the 1990s Hungary had observed first-hand that military conflict can break out even in neighbouring countries, and today millions of immigrants are aiming to set out for Europe.

He stressed that over the next few years the Government will more than double the budget of the Hungarian Defence Forces.

Mr. Orbán asked the new Chief of Staff Ferenc Korom – who will replace Defence Minister-designate Colonel General Tibor Benkő – for an army which, in line with contemporary challenges, is reorganised, modern, combat-ready and committed to its homeland, and which can stand comparison with the armed forces of any other nation.

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He also asked him to make careers in the military attractive to young people, because to build a strong Hungarian army young people must be won over to the cause of defence.

He told Mr. Korom that “We expect you […] to enforce the cardinal law of military life among soldiers: integrity above all.”

In his speech the Prime Minister thanked departing defence minister István Simicskó, who took over the Ministry three years ago, when “Hungary’s southern borders were besieged by tens of thousands of migrants”. Hungary’s defence system has stood its ground ever since, and is defending the security of the Hungarian people, he added.

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Regarding Mr. Benkő’s ministerial appointment, Mr. Orbán drew attention to the fact that this is the first time since the fall of communism that a soldier will become a defence minister directly after leading  the Hungarian army.