“Hungary has decided on the deployment of a further 170 soldiers, with which it is increasing the number of its military personnel in NATO missions by one third”, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó stated on Wednesday following a one-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Brussels.

In a statement to Hungarian reporters, the Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade said the government is deploying seventy soldiers in Afghanistan in addition to the current one hundred in the spirit of reinforcing the fight against terrorism. It is also sending a further one hundred soldiers to the Hungarian mission in Kosovo to add to the four hundred already deployed there, because “the security of the Western Balkans is critically important from the perspective of the security of Hungary and the whole of Europe”, he underlined. “Accordingly, Hungary is increasing the number of its military personnel taking part in NATO missions from 499 to 669”, Mr. Szijjártó added.

He highlighted the fact that of its two undertakings made with relation to NATO in September 2014, according to which it will be increasing defence spending to two percent of the gross domestic product (GDP) and spending 20 percent of that on development, Hungary has already realised one this year, well ahead of the 2024 deadline. “This year, 23.48 percent of defence expenditure is being spent on development projects. Hungary will be fulfilling its commitments with relation to defence spending by 2024 at the latest”, the Minister emphasised. He also drew attention to the fact that the pressure on the Hungarian national community in Transcarpathia has once against begun to increase in the recent period. “Hungary regards it as unacceptable that the Ukrainian secret service has also begun taking part in this increase in pressure. We are hopeful that the new President, who has a suitable social mandate and a parliamentary majority, will begin moving processes relating to Transcarpathian Hungarians in the right direction, and the application of pressure on the Hungarian community will come to an end”, he said.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade emphasised that on the meeting apart from Hungary the only countries who regarded migration as a challenge were Slovenia and Greece.

Mr. Szijjártó also reported on the fact that the importance of the alliance’s unity had been stressed at the meeting, which was held in preparation for an informal meeting of the heads of NATO member states scheduled to be held in London in early December. “There was agreement with relation to the fact that we must not give way to efforts aimed at breaking or weakening this unity, in addition to which there was also an indication of an agreement with relation to a proposal concerning the setting up of a working group to evaluate the challenges facing the alliance and make recommendations concerning their handling”, the Minister said.