Hungary lists illegal migration and demographic change as top security threats in new National Security Strategy

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Right in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic, Hungary has published its new National Security Strategy (NSS), which lists illegal migration, demographic change, armed attacks, and hybrid warfare as some of the biggest threats the country faces.

The country states that NATO is the cornerstone of the country’s security architecture in the 179-point document, which has been expanded from 51 points in the previous one published in 2012. The country regularly updates its NSS every eight years, with additional interim updates if and when warranted.

The NSS lists migration as one of the major security threats that Hungary faces.

 “The crisis caused by mass immigration has a decisive effect on Hungary’s security. The crisis has made it clear that unexpected, uncontrolled, mass and illegal migration is a new type of challenge that could even jeopardize the security and stability of the European continent, while maintaining national security, public safety and security,” according to the document.

The security threat of migration is also not going away anytime soon due to the root causes of migration only worsening. Hungary’s NSS document states:

The primary cause of mass, uncontrolled and illegal migration is the significant increase in the number of politically, economically and socially unstable states in many regions of several continents, which are poorly governed and perform their basic functions only to a limited extent and to a low standard. They are usually characterized by overpopulation, widespread poverty, and negative environmental changes at the same time. The wave of illegal migration can also become a tool for hybrid warfare.

Pandemics are a major threat for Hungary

One of the new elements in the list of major threats points to “the rapid and mass spread of infectious diseases in the population”, an occurrence previously seen under the more general natural catastrophes heading.
Hungary warns that the spread of pandemics like the coronavirus has been exacerbated by migration and globalization, writing:

The emergence of new pandemics cannot be ruled out, the spread of which could be accelerated more than ever by increasing world trade, personal mobility and mass, uncontrolled and illegal migration.

Such epidemics can have far-reaching effects on security as well as the economy, military and social life. The document also states that the advanced medicine can only partially offset the epidemiological and negative effects of globalization.

The globalization of the coronavirus epidemic clarifies the link between massive, uncontrolled and illegal migration and increased security risks, possibly health risks, according to the document.

Hungary’s demographics are a source of strength

The NSS document points to demographic changes, including those happening outside of Hungary, as a potential threat. It also outlines how Hungary has remained a source of strength for Europe.
“The key to the survival of Hungarians and the framework of our national existence is a strong, nation-based Hungary. Our millennial statehood, our Hungarian language and culture, our history and traditions, and our Christian values are a valuable contribution to the diversity of Europe,” the report states.

Hungary also emphasizes the benefits of being a homogenous nation with a shared language in terms of its security:

Our primary endowment is the unity, language and culture of a nation-based Hungarian consciousness and a community of shared destiny from here and beyond our borders. Our status as an ally and a member state of the European Union significantly strengthens the security and international advocacy capacity of Hungary.

The document also outlines how a “common language” and the “unity of the nation” help improve Hungary’s resilience to hybrid attacks, which the document defines as “coordinated and widespread diplomatic, information and secret service operations, coupled with financial-economic pressure, speculative financial attacks or military threats”.

Hungary considers no country to be its enemy

Under the “fundamental values” heading in the NSS document remains the sentence saying “the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is the cornerstone of Hungary’s security”.

The country’s security depends on close cooperation with all countries and peaceful resolutions, with the document noting:

Hungary attaches great importance to closely interrelated values ​​such as peace, security, state sovereignty and territorial integrity. Hungary does not consider any country to be its enemy, it intends to settle its disputes by peaceful means in accordance with the principles of the United Nations (UN) Charter and the norms of international law.

Under the heading of allies and partners, seven entities have been highlighted: the Visegrád Four, Germany, Poland, the United States, Italy, France and Turkey as a “dynamically developing regional power and NATO ally”.

The updated document from Hungary also discusses opportunities and threats from certain technologies, such as rapidly expanding 5G networks that Hungary believes will reshape society. The report also discusses how cryptocurrencies are a challenge for authorities, especially as they remain unregulated and represent a threat to traditional payment options.

Hungary must strengthen its armed forces

In terms of military development, the strategy says that the development of the armed forces must be achieved through reinforcing the country’s national defense industry. It also says that by 2024 Hungarian defense expenditure must reach two percent of the country’s GDP. Last year the country’s defense expenditure was 1.21 percent of GDP, well below the 2-percent NATO requirement. Currently, only seven NATO countries meet or exceed the 2-percent target — the United States, Britain, Greece, Poland and the three Baltic States of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.

Although Hungary seeks to pursue peaceful solutions, threats across the world necessitate reforming the country’s armed forces.

“The large-scale economic, social, demographic and environmental changes taking place in the world and the competition for increasingly scarce global resources are a source of significant tensions. The primary feature of change is that it often merges, accelerates, and generates complex challenges,” the report states.

The Hungarian Armed Forces have now set the goal of making Hungary one of the five safest countries in Europe and in the top ten of the world by 2030. This will be achieved by maintaining a high level of public security in the country and on the other by “building one of the dominant, modern forces based on an exportable domestic defense industry.”

The NSS document also stated that Hungary is committed to fighting terrorism and believes that in the long-term, a common European defense force may be established with the agreement of all EU member states. The report highlights the special alliance between Visegard countries, in particular between Hungary and Poland, with the report stating that, “the Hungarian and Polish nations are united by a millennial community of destiny and friendship of arms.”

The two countries also recently signed a strategic military partnership and agreed to combat illegal migration.

The more specific development plans of the armed forces are contained in a separate document, the National Military Strategy, which usually follows the more general guidelines of the NSS and is published after the NSS. The current one was published in 2012.

Title image: Hungarian servicemen donate blood on National Defense Day, May 21, 2020. (source:

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