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Minister of Defence: the Values and the Culture of the European People Must be Preserved in Europe

Szöveg: / MTI |  2018. október 11. 9:32

The values and the culture of the European people must be preserved in Europe, and the interests of the European countries must be protected – the Minister of Defence Dr. Tibor Benkő told the MTI late at night on Wednesday, 10th October in Zagreb. The Minister arrived in the Croatian capital at the invitation of the Croatian Minister of Defence Damir Krstičević for a two-day official visit.

Dr. Tibor Benkő highlighted that owing to the security policy changes occurring in the world and in Europe, close co-operation is imperative. The Croatian-Hungarian ministerial meeting is simply the continuation of the very close and strong military co-operation of the two countries.

“Suffice to think about the Western Balkans, where peace is so fragile, or about the illegal migration and to consider also the common historic past of Croatia and Hungary, and how our predecessors, our ancestors, struggled, fought for freedom, and then we will understand why these meetings are vital" – Dr. Tibor Benkő pointed out.

He argued that though both countries are members of the same alliance: NATO and the European Union, and although they both pursue the same goal, we need to recognise that the strength of NATO is always composed of the capabilities of the Member States. “NATO does not have an independent army, but the capabilities of the NATO Member States provide the strength of NATO, therefore we should find the forms, possibilities and ways of co-operation, for the further strengthening of these capabilities" – the Minister underlined. He added that in addition to discussing the concepts of the two countries about maintaining the peace and security of the European peoples and the European countries, it is also of utmost importance to speak about the ways of collaboration during the meeting.

The Minister has indicated that they will talk with his Croatian colleague about their common responsibilities, such as the airspace surveillance in the common NATO airspace, furthermore about the co-ordination of the search and rescue tasks in case of aerial reconnaissance in a disaster or accident situation, and about sharing radar information.

The Minister mentioned among the key topics the Memorandum of Understanding signed by Bulgaria, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary the previous week in Brussels, on basis of which a NATO Helicopter Training Centre has been established in Zadar, Middle Dalmatia, for the training of helicopter crews engaged in special mission. As he said, they will tour and inspect this military airbase on Thursday, and at the same time they will visit the Hungarian soldiers, who participate in the pilot training in Zadar. “On one hand we were familiarised with the capability, which serves the aerial use of special operations, and with the program, in which the pilot candidates take part" – the Minister explained.

On Wednesday, the two Ministers laid wreaths at the Memorial Plaque erected this year in April, in the Central Zabreb Mirogoj Cemetery, in honour of the 450 Hungarian soldiers, who died a hero’s death in World War I. In the evening the bronze bust of St. Ladislaus was inaugurated in the residence of the Hungarian Embassy in Zagreb. Hungarian King László I, later King of Croatia was praised in the festive speeches of both Ministers. King St Ladislaus founded the Diocese of Zagreb in 1091. His robe and his relic, a piece of his hand bone are safeguarded in the Cathedral of Zabreb.

Photo of Péter Snoj