Commentary Defense

Hungary increases defense budget

Next year the Hungarian defense budget will receive a significant boost of HUF 173 billion, meaning that the ministry will have a total HUF 616 billion (EUR 1.92 billion) at its disposal.

State Minister of the Defense Ministry Szilárd Németh said within that budget, procurement will amount to HUF 216 billion in order to finance recent purchases, such as buying Airbus 145 light and Airbus 225 medium helicopters, German Leopard A4 a A7+ main battle tanks, PzH 2000 self-propelled howitzers and M4 shoulder-launched antitank missiles.

He also said that the Air Force will continue the upgrade of its JAS-39 Gripen fighter aircraft in order to provide better support to ground troops. Németh did not mention whether – as several press reports suggest – Hungary will purchase Lockheed Martin F-35 multirole fighters.

He did say, however, that the salary increase of military personnel will continue this year and that the armed forces will pay special attention in both selection and training to improve the quality of its fighting troops.

Asked about a recent diplomatic dispute between Hungary and Romania over the vandalization of an Austro-Hungarian military graveyard by radical Romanian nationalists in Transylvania, Németh said the solution proposed by Romania was unacceptable.

Romania wants to hand over administration of the graveyard from the local council of the ethnic Hungarian village of Csíkszentmárton (Romanian: Sanmartin CIuc) to the Defense Ministry.

“We have every right to expect the Romanian government (…) to immediately cease the illegal and offensive situation, in line with European norms and minority rights and adhere to the bilateral protocol regarding military graveyards,” Németh said.

Title image: Hungarian soldiers on border patrol (MTI/Tibor Rosta)

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