In answer to a question, Mr. Simicskó pointed out that the government is not planning to reinstate conscription, and also noted that a system of incentives has largely been created to make the training of volunteer reservists attractive.
The manpower of the Hungarian Defence Forces is around 30,000, and additionally, there are some 5500 volunteer reservists as well. According to István Simicskó, besides an at least 30,000-strong army, there is also a need for some 20,000 reservists with “real capabilities”. “This is the minimum program, which requires corresponding military technology in terms of air defence, air force, artillery and armor and so on, so that we have effective armed forces which can act as a real deterrent”, the minister said.
István Simicskó also underlined that the revival of Hungary’s defence industry is an important goal of the government. To achieve it, in cooperation with the Ministry for National Economy and the Ministry of Interior, the Ministry of Defence has established a defence industry working group. The minister added that in his opinion, there is a chance to develop production capacity in Hungary for infantry weaponry such as “pistols, assault rifles, sniper rifles and other light weapons”. In this matter, there is already ongoing coordination with the other ministries, and the minister of defence hopes that this year the foundations can be laid for reviving certain sectors of the Hungarian defence industry, which will lead to the start of actual production next year.
In the interview, the minister of defence emphasized the importance of developments and the modernization of the Hungarian Defence Forces. As he remarked, the government provides the budgetary means to attain these goals by continuously increasing the defence budget. According to István Simicskó, based on the currently planned development concept, Hungary is expected to reach by 2026-2027 the NATO guideline of spending 2 per cent of its GDP on defence.