Europe and nations of the European Union must be capable of protecting their own citizens, Defence Minister Tibor Benkő stressed at the two-day meeting of defence ministers of Member States of the European Union held in Vienna.

According to the Defence Ministry’s communication, defence ministers of the European Union held a consultation as part of an informal meeting in the Austrian capital on Wednesday and Thursday. The most important topic of the conference was Europe’s security, and the issue of guaranteeing Europe’s security through the cooperation of European nations, the Ministry’s communication sent to the Hungarian news agency MTI reads.

After the meeting Mr Benkő said at the conference they sought to find approval for the concept that Europe’s security must depend on the European people and on European countries. “We ourselves must take care of ourselves”, he said.

Regarding the threats the European continent is facing, he highlighted that despite the fact that there are nations, such as Hungary itself, which have managed to curb illegal migration with a variety of legal, physical and other measures, quite evidently illegal immigrants continue to arrive in a number of countries of Europe to this day. “This illegal migration is also a breeding ground for terrorism”, the Minister stressed, pointing out that in the autumn of 2015 a great many people entered Europe, also via Hungary, about whom information that subsequently emerged indicated that they were members of various terrorist organisations.

In the context of European cooperation, Mr Benkő said they wish to forge a defence cooperation in which the common capabilities so coming into being complement, rather than duplicate the capabilities that already exist thanks to NATO membership. According to the Minister, to this end they should primarily find a solution at a political level.

The Defence Minister further stressed that Hungary supports the accession of Western Balkans states to the European Union which also guarantees the security of Europe’s southern borders, the Ministry’s communication reads.

(Ministry of Defence)