Hungary decreasing defence budget NATO concern – paper

Budapest, June 10 (MTI) – The opinion about Hungary’s performance is overall positive in NATO, but one area of concern is the country’s continuously decreasing defence budget, Nepszabadsag daily said on Friday, quoting informal talks with senior NATO officials in Brussels.  

They added that these concerns are only an unofficial position and NATO on the whole is facing internal reform to cut bureaucracy and costs.


On the official NATO position the paper quoted deputy spokeswoman Carmen Romero as saying that the necessity of cuts in defence budgets as part of economic crisis management measures is understandable.


“But this can not be made at the cost of the common security for us all,” she was quoted as saying and added that NATO’s European allies, such as Hungary, must continue to be trustworthy players in common security.


Concerning the defence budget Nepszabadsag noted that it could drop to below one percent of gross domestic product this year, which is unprecedented.


Hungary’s defence budget increased from 279 billion forints (EUR 1.05 bn) in 2002 to 308 billion in 2010. The budget earmarked for this year is 272.5 billion (EUR 1.02 bn), which has been cut by the government in austerity measures by 26,3 billion.


Hungarian Defence Minister Csaba Hende told Nepszabadsag that the country had to freeze 10 percent of its defence budget in February, stressing however that it had kept its contribution to NATO on level.


“NATO therefore has no reason to be concerned about this matter,” he said.

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