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The Armed Forces of Hungary is on the verge of a “historic opportunity” to become a reformed, capable and dedicated military force, Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said on Friday, addressing a National Defence Day celebration. Hungary’s military is now presented with a big, perhaps final chance, the minister told the event at the Bálna Centre on the Pest side of the River Danube, arguing that the war in Ukraine had “created a completely new situation”. Though the Hungarian army has already had many positive elements, “it hasn’t been what we all want to see it as: a force capable of fully guaranteeing the security of the Hungarian people within NATO”, Szalay-Bobrovniczky said. Despite the difficult economic situation caused by the war, Hungary has all the resources needed for the necessary upgrades, he said, noting that next year’s budget again allocates 2% of GDP towards defence. As regards the tasks before the Armed Forces, Szalay-Bobrovniczky noted the importance of procuring new NATO-compatible equipment. Also, a profound change in organisational culture is needed so that the army is a combat ready force, he said, emphasising the importance of the military’s rejuvenation. The appointment of Gábor Böröndi as the chief of staff ensures that this change in organisational culture “is spearheaded by the best people possible”, he added. National Defence Day marks the anniversary of May 21, 1849, when the independent Hungarian army succeeded in recapturing the castle of Buda after a three-week siege.