Opposition calls for committee session on Def Min’s ‘controversial’ NATO remarks


United opposition MPs have called for an immediate session of the parliamentary defense committee following the defense minister’s “controversial” remarks about Hungary’s ability to protect itself without NATO.

Ágnes Vadai, deputy leader of the Democratic Coalition group, told an online press conference on Monday that Tibor Benkő’s remarks, made at a residents’ forum over the weekend, stood in stark contrast to the position of the Prime Minister Viktor Orbán that the Hungarian army was able to provide security for Hungary without NATO assistance.

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In the current situation, the Hungarian armed forces are responsible for ensuring peace and security in the country and the region rather than “showing force that would cause people’s fear and anxiety”, said the Minister of the Benkő Defense.

Vadai said making contradictory remarks in government was “shocking and unconscionable”.

The session is also expected to examine allegations about a government proposal to reintroduce compulsory military service in Hungary, Vadai said.

“While Orbán talks about strategic calm, the government is in total chaos regarding the Russian-Ukrainian war,” Vadai insisted, adding that “Hungary’s security can only be guaranteed by a stable and strong adherence to the ‘European Union and NATO’.

Fidesz replied that the opposition “is trying to scare people by attacking the leadership of the Hungarian armed forces for campaign purposes”. The army, “which the national government has reinforced in recent years, protects our borders and helps refugees. We again call on the opposition to stop behaving irresponsibly,” the statement read, insisting that the opposition wanted to “send Hungarian weapons and soldiers to Ukraine.”

Photo courtesy of Tamás Kovács/MTI

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