The Ministers of Defence of the NATO member states also discussed international terrorism during their recent two-day meeting in Brussels. “Effective action against international terrorism, which also contributes to solving the problems that give rise to illegal migration, is being given priority in Hungary”, the Ministry of Defence’s State Secretary for Defence István Szabó said in a statement on Thursday, 13 February.

“In view of the fact that the threat posed by the Islamic State terrorist organisation has not ceased, NATO has decided to increase its role in the fight against terrorism”, the State Secretary said. “Within this framework, the alliance will be taking over further training tasks from the United States-led Global Coalition to Defeat ISIS in Iraq”, he announced. “Hungary is committed to the operation, and will be discussing its continued role in Iraq with its partners”, Mr. Szabó stated.

“Hungary reinforced its military and financial contribution within the NATO mission in Afghanistan, as well as its position with relation to the fact that the future of the mission may only be decided upon jointly and while taking into account the development of the peace process”, he said.

With relation to the equitable distribution of defence spending, the State Secretary said that Hungarian continues to be in the well-performing category within this field in view of the fact that from 2024 it will be spending two percent of its gross domestic product on defence expenditure, 20 percent of which it is already spending on development.

“As a member of the European Union and NATO, Hungary is committed to the further reinforcement of cooperation between the two organisations”, Mr. Szabó said, adding that in his opinion this is the only way to successfully fight terrorism and hybrid threats.

The countries of the Visegrád Group (the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia, the V4) and the United Kingdom held a meeting for the first time at defence minister level. “The parties discussed the security and defence issues that will be faced by Europe following the termination of Great Britain’s EU membership and discussed the tightening of relations, with particular emphasis on strategic communication and defending against hybrid threats”, he told the press.

With relation to the working breakfast held by the defence ministers of Ukraine and Hungary, the State Secretary said: “In accordance with tradition, Hungary is continuing to conduct wide-ranging military cooperation with Ukraine and is also providing the country with diverse practical assistance”.

“We support Ukraine’s independence and territorial integrity, and remain open to high-level bilateral dialogue”, he highlighted. He added, however, that Ukraine has so far failed to fulfil the recommendations of the Council of Europe’s body of constitutional experts, the Venice Commission, with relation to its Education Act and Language Act, and particularly with relation to entering into meaningful dialogue with minorities.

“We are still hopeful that Ukraine will take concrete action to solve the problem so that we can in turn support the convening of high-level NATO-Ukraine Commission meetings”, Mr. Szabó added.