‘National defence concerns us all,’ Minister of Defence Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky stated in an interview on public M1 news television on Wednesday, 17 May.
The minister emphasised that a generation has grown up that has not directly experienced the necessity of the armed defence of the homeland. He stated that the goal of this year’s recruitment campaign by the Ministry of Defence is to showcase that the current military is no longer the same as the one young people know from their parents’ accounts. It is now a new, digital, 21st-century, modern force, ‘a community of brave, young Hungarians.’
He drew attention to the fundamental change in the security situation in Europe and stressed that the military must demonstrate appropriate deterrence to ensure the safety of the Hungarian people. He emphasised that defence is something that concerns all Hungarians. The minister reiterated that the
Hungarian Defence Forces welcome young people who want to join in the armed defence of the homeland.
Regarding the war in Ukraine, the minister stated that Hungary will definitely stay out of the conflict and will do everything to achieve a ceasefire and initiate peace negotiations. As long as there is an ongoing armed conflict, there is a risk of intentional or accidental escalation. He emphasised that the task of the Hungarian military is to guarantee the safety of the Hungarian people, and therefore the government is continuing the development of the defence forces. This includes procurement of equipment, enhancing combat spirit, and organisational restructuring, such as the establishment of the Territorial Defence Forces Command in April this year. These efforts together aim to build a deterrent force that must reckoned with in the region and which helps preserve Hungary’s peace.
In another interview on public Kossuth radio, the minister also highlighted the importance of territorial reservists in the defence of the homeland, noting that the professional military force is ‘stationed’ in various locations across the country, while territorial defence relies on local reservists with their local knowledge, training, and specialised tasks, complementing the professionals. The minister also underscored
the importance of increasing the recognition and appreciation of Hungarian soldiers,
which is supported by initiatives such as the system of defence camps and the expansion of cadet schools, which the ministry is currently working on. Minister Szalay-Bobrovniczky added that many of the experienced soldiers who have left active military service as part of the rejuvenation process have the opportunity to return to serve the homeland, for example, through defence education.