The ammunition factory currently under construction in Várpalota, in western Hungary, will be of great significance not only for Hungary, but for Europe as a whole, the Hungarian defence minister said in the town at the project’s topping out ceremony on Friday. Enhancing the defence industry is one of the pillars of Europe’s strategic autonomy Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky said at the event.
He noted that the factory being built with a budget of 300 billion forints (EUR 775m) will create 1,000-2,000 jobs. The Hungarian government had recognised the challenges facing the Armed Forces and the defence industry years before the war in Ukraine. Those challenges are now reality, he said. The government has created the conditions for responding those challenges and “we are now standing in the middle of a 400 hectare area where one of Europe’s most advanced ammunition factories is under construction”, he said.
Addressing the event, Thierry Breton, EU Commissioner for Internal Market, called the project important in enhancing the defence capabilities not only of Hungary, but Europe as a whole, adding that demand for ammunition produced in the plant was expected to be high because of an overall drop in the stocks of EU member states. He commended Hungary for increasing its defence spending to over 2% of GDP compared with 1% just five years ago. The commissioner said the other 26 member states would all keep up with Hungary which would ultimately mean that Europe should be spending a total of 140 billion euros annually on defence.