The Ministry of Defence will have a total budget of HUF 616 billion next year, Parliamentary State Secretary Szilárd Németh announced at a press conference held in the Ministry of Defence on 18 December.

Mr Németh pointed out that defence – guaranteeing Hungary’s independence and security – will be one of the government’s most important tasks also next year, and therefore this year, too, they have created legislation which enables the Hungarian Defence Forces to become of one of the region’s most modern and most effective armies as the domestic defence forces play a key role in preserving the security of Europe and Hungary. He said the financial resources necessary for the fulfilment of this task are now available, the 2020 defence budget is a record-sized allocation, HUF 103 billion more than the 2019 budget, amounting to HUF 616 billion in total. HUF 216 billion from this sum, meaning more than 30 per cent of the allocation, will have to be used for the development of the Hungarian Defence Forces, the State Secretary informed the press.

Mr Németh highlighted that the entirety of the army’s defence equipment procurements is conducted before the wider public and serves Hungary’s best interests at all times, primarily with a view to the professional considerations of members of the military and the development of the economy. He mentioned as an example the procurement of Airbus helicopters which are prepared to the specifications of the Hungarian Defence Forces, while the orders placed for the helicopters have also contributed to a decision on the establishment by the company of a rotating parts factory in Gyula.

The State Secretary pointed out that in Kiskunfélegyháza, where small arms are assembled, they have relaunched the Hungarian defence industry. According to plans, with these weapons they will supply not only Hungarian soldiers, but also the members of all domestic armed forces, following which they will be able to fill orders from abroad as well.

He said the nature of security threats will not change in the future. “The security of Europe and Hungary will be threatened most, both next year and for a very long time to come, by illegal migration and the accompanying phenomenon of terrorism,” he said, adding that this is why Hungarian soldiers are playing an active role in NATO missions. With Parliament’s approval, they are increasing the Hungarian peacekeeping contingent in the Western Balkans to almost seven hundred, while they have also extended the mandate of the mission in Iraq to 31 December 2021.

At the press conference, Mr Németh denied rumours about the reinstatement of conscription. “There will be no conscription in Hungary. The personnel of the Hungarian Defence Forces will remain based on the career soldier model and the system of voluntary reservists also in the future. As part of the Zrínyi programme, by 2026 we are expecting to have a staff of 30,000 career soldiers and a reservist defence staff of 20,000,” the State Secretary said. At his press conference, he thanked members of the defence forces for their loyal service in 2019 true to their country and oath as well as other defence workers for their assistance.