Intensifying European defence cooperation and ensuring the EU remains a global player in security and defence is more important than ever, Tibor Benkő, Hungary’s defence minister, said at an informal meeting of EU counterparts in Zagreb on Thursday. Benkő highlighted European Union cooperation on illegal migration and hybrid warfare, according to a ministry statement. He told the meeting that Hungary supports EU strategic autonomy and cooperation with its partners. “We must be capable of handling the challenges and crises in our neighbourhood,” he said, adding that a commitment to developing a “strategic direction” would aid reaching a common European understanding of security challenges as well as developing common responses. Benkő also said unstable regions around the EU, especially the Western Balkans and Africa, should receive special attention and aid. Regarding to migration situation at the Greek borders, Benkő assured the most severely affected countries – Greece, Bulgaria and Cyprus – of Hungary’s solidarity.
Among the items of the agenda of the meeting attended by Josep Borrell, the EU’s chief diplomat, were agreements on joint military operations, joint capability development and an MoU on setting up a Central European Division Headquarters, the statement said.