Hungary sets up defense body in Ukraine conflict
Prime Minister Viktor Orban will lead the Defense Council which has special decision-making powers
The Hungarian government has set up a new Defense Council headed by Prime Minister Viktor Orban which has been given special decision-making power, the prime minister’s press secretary, Bertalan Havasi, announced on Tuesday.
As quoted by Hungarian news agency MTI, Havasi explained that the council was created in response to the military conflict in Ukraine and the ensuing economic crisis in Europe. He also noted that the increased pressure from migration has made it necessary to pay special attention to protecting Hungary’s security and sovereignty in the years to come.
The council will deal with proposals and reports regarding national security, public safety, border controls, national defense, migrant cases, protection against natural disasters, counter-terrorism efforts and developments in defense.
« The Defense Council is a political decision-making forum of the government with special powers, the president is the prime minister and the secretary is the chief national security adviser, » he added. Havesi explained.
Other members would also include the head of Orban’s office as well as the Hungarian interior, defense and foreign ministers, who « meet as needed, but at least once every two weeks », according to the statement of the secretary, who added that any member of the body can initiate an extraordinary meeting at any time.
Prime Minister Viktor Orban also confirmed the creation of the council, writing on Facebook that “All of Europe is suffering from the consequences of war, the economic crisis and increasing migratory pressure. In the years to come, we will therefore pay particular attention to the defense of Hungary!
Since Russia launched its military operation in Ukraine in late February, Hungary has refused to send military aid to Kyiv and has been reluctant to support Western sanctions against Moscow, especially over energy imports.
Instead, Orban insisted on increasing Hungary’s military capabilities while Defense Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky ordered to increase the combat readiness of its armed forces in response to the Ukrainian conflict and the influx of migrants at the southern borders of the country.
At the end of May, Budapest declared a state of emergency over the conflict, granting Orban extraordinary powers. One of the emergency measures decreed by the government has been to tax the « extra profits » of banks, insurance companies, airlines and energy and telecommunications utilities, among others, to finance the country’s military and social security programs.