Defence Minister Tibor Benkő met Mariusz Blaszczak, his Polish counterpart, for talks on bilateral defence cooperation in Budapest on Tuesday. At a press conference after the talks, the two parties highlighted similar positions on a number of topics including NATO, the Visegrad cooperation, as well as bilateral military ties. They also exchanged experiences regarding voluntary territorial reserves. Parties at the talks signed a document under which Poland joined NATO’s health excellence centre headquartered in Budapest. “It’s good that we see the tasks facing us in the same way to such an extent,” Benkő said.
Poland, he said, had fully shared Hungary’s view of illegal migration as early as 2015 and he thanked Poland for providing swift assistance to Hungary. He also praised the V4 battle group which will perform its tasks together with Croatia in the second half of the year. Both agreed on the need to restart the battle group’s operations in 2023. In the context of NATO, they were in agreement that threats from the east and south were special challenges for both countries. Benkő expressed gratitude that the soldiers of the two countries would serve together in the United Nations Interim Force In Lebanon. Hungary will join the task force in the second half of the year and will expand its number of units from next year. He noted that Poland and Hungary share NATO tasks, including protecting the Baltic airspace. Poland is currently on active duty and Hungary will take over afterwards, he noted.
Benkő referred to Poland’s voluntary reserves, saying both countries attached great importance to them. “Based on Poland’s experiences, I’d like to develop Hungary’s voluntary territorial reserves. By 2026, we want a headcount of 20,000.”