Commentary V4

Metnar negotiates military cooperation in Hungary

Czech and Hungarian Defense Ministers Lubomír Metnar and Tibor Benkö agreed on a joint training and military exercise, Hungarian news agency MTI has said.

The meeting covered military exercise COPSEC 2019 focused on external border protection, which is to take place in Hungary and which 15 countries intend to attend. The Czech Army is to send 50 soldiers and 20 pieces of equipment for this exercise.

According to Ministers Metnar and Benkö, both countries agree on what changes are needed in Europe in terms of challenges, risks, and threats, as well as the general public perception of security. They also discussed East and South threats as identified by NATO. Hungary wants Central Europe to contribute to increasing security, Benkö said.

The talks also concerned Hungarian involvement in the Central European Batlle Group and special forces in the region. The ministers also discussed what areas of development the armed forces should focus on.

Benkö recalled that Hungary had purchased firearms as well as training facility licenses from the Czech Republic.
According to MTI, Lubomír Metnar described safety cooperation as vital, given the security situation in the region. He also stressed the importance of cooperation between NATO, the European Union, and the V4, identifying the V4 Battle Group as one of the best aspects of the cooperation of Central European countries. Metnar appreciates Hungary's similar views on these topics.

The ministers also discussed migration issues. Metnar said it is necessary to train local forces in the countries of origin of migrants to prevent the masses of refugees going abroad. He said the Balkan route was closed, but the growing number of migrants is a source of potential pressure on this path. In this context, he thanked Hungary for holding the COPSEC 2019 exercise.

According to MTI, Metnar said that during the upcoming Czech V4 Presidency he would initiate negotiations on regional security policy issues. He added that there should also be more opportunities for joint tactical cooperation, for example, extending the V4 activities to Germany, France, and Britain.

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