Hungarian Conservative

NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg Agrees to Hungarian Opt-Out from Ukraine Mission

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (R) with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Budapest on 12 June 2024
Zoltán Fischer/MTI/Prime Minister’s Press Office
Hungary has received assurances from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that it will not have to participate in military action outside its territory. Stoltenberg and Viktor Orbán held talks in Budapest on Wednesday, during which, in addition to discussing the war, Hungary’s significant contribution to the functioning of the defence alliance was also highlighted.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán received NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Budapest on Wednesday. The central topic of the meeting was, of course, the war in Ukraine. However, Hungary’s significant contribution to the functioning of the defence alliance was also discussed, Magyar Nemzet reported.

At the press conference following the meeting, Mr Orbán expressed his satisfaction with the strengthened cooperation between NATO and Hungary during Mr Stoltenberg’s term as Secretary General. ‘The Secretary General has always been a willing partner in this, and I would like to take this opportunity to thank him for his work. Today, we reviewed the relationship between NATO and Hungary,’ the prime minister emphasized. He added that Hungary is a loyal and committed member of NATO, noting that currently, 1,300 Hungarian soldiers are participating in NATO operations.

‘We are one of the few countries within NATO fulfilling all our commitments.

Our military spending is above 2 percent of GDP, and we are well on track to meet or exceed the 20 percent capability development target,’

Orbán continued. The Hungarian PM also mentioned that Hungary performs air policing tasks in Slovakia and Slovenia. ‘These are the contributions that Hungary can make to strengthen NATO, and we will continue to fulfil these commitments in the future,’ he stated.

Regarding the war in Ukraine, Orbán acknowledged that Hungary’s position differs from that of the majority of NATO member states. He stated that Hungary and the other member states have different views on the shortest route from war to peace.

‘Hungary acknowledges that the weight and number of opinions differing from its own are significant. We have been able to express our position on every occasion, and we are grateful to the Secretary General for this. We have been able to present our analysis of the situation on every NATO platform,’ Mr Orbán said. He added, however, that Hungary must admit it does not have the capacity or strength to change the opinions of a large number of people who disagree with it.

‘Therefore, Hungary made it clear at today’s talks that it does not wish to block decisions in NATO which, although they differ from the reasonable decisions resulting from our understanding of the situation, are shared and advocated by the other member states,’ PM Orbán explained. The prime minister then stated that he had asked Mr Stoltenberg to ensure that any military action outside NATO territory should be voluntary and in accordance with NATO rules and traditions.

‘Today, Hungary has received the guarantees we need,

especially given that the most important issue in the European Parliament elections a few days ago was the question of war and peace. Hungarian citizens gave a clear mandate to the Hungarian government not to participate in military actions outside the territory of Hungary and NATO. Hungary should follow the shortest path to peace at its own discretion,’ PM Orbán underscored.

Orbán also highlighted the results of the talks in a Facebook post: ‘We do not have to take part in any military action outside the territory of Hungary. We will not send men, weapons, or money to war!’ he wrote.

At the press conference, Jens Stoltenberg emphasized that the meeting took place less than a month before NATO heads of state and government convene in Washington for one of the most important summits of the year. ‘Hungary has always been a highly valued NATO ally over these 25 years. They lead one of our multinational battle groups and host important military commands,’ Stoltenberg stated.

The NATO Secretary General added that Hungary also supports stability in the Western Balkans, making a significant contribution through its troops in the KFOR peacekeeping operation.

‘Since the beginning of Russia’s brutal war of aggression, Hungary has continuously supported and sheltered Ukrainian refugees and helped rehabilitate wounded soldiers. All this contributes to our common security. I appreciate your statement that you remain a committed and loyal NATO ally. Today, the Prime Minister and I discussed an important issue that needs to be resolved, the issue of the Washington Summit,’ the NATO Secretary General underlined. He added that the summit will also decide on a number of key matters, including deterrence and defence.

Watch the full press conference here:


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Hungary has received assurances from NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that it will not have to participate in military action outside its territory. Stoltenberg and Viktor Orbán held talks in Budapest on Wednesday, during which, in addition to discussing the war, Hungary’s significant contribution to the functioning of the defence alliance was also highlighted.

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