Both Hungary and Slovakia are reassured by the European Union’s admission of the importance of defending the bloc’s external borders, a defence ministry official said on Wednesday after a meeting of the Hungarian-Slovak mixed committee dealing with military and national security issues.
Tamas Vargha, parliamentary state secretary for defence, and his Slovak counterpart, Robert Ondrejcsak, were in agreement that PESCO European defense cooperation established last year would bring about results in enhancing security if properly acted on. Vargha said the idea was not to set up rivalry with NATO, since permanently structured cooperation only focused on protecting the EU.
Over the past few years, central Europe’s security environment has altered considerably, motivating the Visegrad Group to take action, Vargha said, citing agreement with his counterpart.
He said the Hungarian government’s measures concerning illegal migration aimed at protecting the EU’s borders had been vindicated by the changing views on migration on the continent.
Vargha said the mixed committee had discussed V4 cooperation, whose rotating presidency is currently held by Hungary. The state secretary noted that Hungary also holds the rotating presidency of the Central European Defence Cooperation, which he said has been the “flagship” of the V4’s struggle against illegal migration.
Vargha also highlighted the importance of foreign missions, to which Hungary contributes some 1,000 troops.
“Illegal migration has to be dealt with at its points of origin,” he said, noting that Hungary increased its number of soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan from 150 to 200 at the start of January.