At a press conference held on 10 July in the capital, Deputy Minister Szilárd Németh, Parliamentary State Secretary of the Ministry of Defence, described next year’s budget as a budget of Hungarian families and security.
Mr Németh said next year’s defence budget will be some HUF 103 billion higher than this year’s. There will be HUF 616 billion available for defence expenditures, of which HUF 216 billion will be allocated to developments. The increased budget is required not only because of the latest security challenges, the State Secretary said, but also because the migration crisis afflicting Europe is intensifying again. “In addition to being a budget of Hungarian families, the 2020 budget will also serve the country’s security and the peace of the Hungarian people as the Hungarian Defence Forces are the custodians, the guarantee of Hungary’s security,” he stressed.
Mr Németh also highlighted that between 2002 and 2010 the number of those serving on the defence forces decreased by 18,000, 50 military organisations were done away with, barracks were closed down, and some 50,000 different items of military equipment were sold. The military equipment sold included caterpillar-tracked vehicles, self-propelled guns, refurbished T-72 tanks, fighter planes and air defence missile complexes. As a result, the governments in office at the time effectively eliminated important military capabilities of the defence forces and the country, he added.
Since 2010, however, the defence forces staff have increased by 15 per cent. According to plans, the number of active soldiers could increase to 30,000, and in addition to them a further 20,000 persons will serve as reservists. Mr Németh also highlighted that from 2015 they increased salaries by 50 per cent in several stages, and next year pay rises could continue in the entire area of the military.
From among the developments of the Zrínyi 2026 Defence and Armed Forces Development Programme, he mentioned the procurement of new aircraft, the modernisation of existing helicopters and the procurement of new ones, and the procurement of new tanks, self-propelled guns and buses. In addition to the procurement of new equipment, they are also developing the organisation of the army, including the establishment of a system of voluntary reservists organised on a territorial basis, the Hungarian Defence Forces Headquarters, the Cyber Security Centre and the new institutions of defence education. With the various procurements, they primarily support the European arms industry as this is in the Hungarian people’s best interest, he stressed.
In Mr Németh’s words, guaranteeing the security of the country and the people is the most important national interest. Therefore, defending the country against the flow of migration is a priority task in which members of the military have taken part since 2015. In the past few years, some 18,000 soldiers have taken part in different missions seeking to stop migration, he added. While the country also meets its obligation under the Schengen Agreement when it protects the common borders, the EU does not support this, despite the fact that more than HUF 300 billion has been spent on border protection so far.