V4 steps up defence cooperation

Defence co-operation of the Visegrad Group (V4) has strengthened over the recent period, a Hungarian defence ministry official told a press conference on Wednesday after a meeting of V4 deputy defence ministers.

Tamas Vargha, the ministry’s parliamentary state secretary, said based on discussions over the past two days, in the current security situation, V4 cooperation is more important and stronger than ever.

The V4 defence ministry representatives discussed so-called permanent structured cooperation (Pesco) aimed at strengthening European Union defence, projects funded by the European Defence Fund, as well as forthcoming V4-EU combat group preparations and the new NATO command structure, he said.

Vargha said the most important challenges for the region involved addressing permanent joint responses and solutions, with terrorism and illegal migration high on the agenda. Although the so-called Islamic State has weakened in Iraq, the threat of terror has not yet diminished, he said.

Vargha said that he and his counterparts agreed on the need to increase defence spending, and Hungary will boost its defence budget to 2 percent of GDP by 2024. Defence Minister Istvan Simicsko briefed them about Hungary’s defence and military development programme for the period up to 2026, he noted.

Deputy defence ministers Tomasz Szatkowski of Poland, Robert Ondrejcsak of Slovakia and Jakub Landovsky of the Czech Republic agreed with Vargha on the importance of taking a regional approach to the new command structure. Vargha also noted that Hungary intends to take part in the work of the mass migration analysis center. After the press conference, Vargha and his V4 counterparts had talks with South Korea’s deputy defence minister.

Source and photo: MTI

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