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Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s speech at an event marking the anniversaries of the Visegrád Group countries’ accession to NATO

Honourable Prime Ministers, Ladies and Gentlemen,

I bring you greetings from Hungary. It has been twenty years since the Poles, Czechs and we Hungarians joined NATO, and this year it will be fifteen years since Slovakia did the same. NATO was established with the aim of creating peace, security, stability and prosperity – first within the Euro-Atlantic region, and then throughout the world. These are also the values that we want to preserve today – not only for ourselves, but also for people who are currently forced to live in a state of civil war. We are committing to military missions so that assistance is delivered to the people who need it and in the locations it is needed. We know full well that if we do not take help to where it is needed in good time, then the problems will come to us. Today we can safely say that our soldiers have also held their own in difficult missions, our officers are strong pillars of the NATO organisation, and that our countries’ economic strength gives us the opportunity to outperform in our commitments as members of NATO.

Honourable Soldiers,

You are also the defenders of our common homeland, Central Europe. I hereby thank the Czech, Polish and Slovakian peoples and their leaders for having sent armed assistance to Hungary’s southern borders when we were under attack from the migrant invasion. Europe’s security today is fragile, and it has been many decades since the world was confronted with chaotic international situations and terrorist threats such as exist today. Therefore the role of NATO is becoming increasingly important. And we are proud of the fact that in the fight against terrorism we are not only taking part with words, but also with soldiers: today 692 soldiers from Hungary are serving in missions at various points around the world, and another 130 soldiers will soon be joining them.

Honourable Soldiers,

We in Hungary would like to raise young people who, like you, proudly undertake these missions, and of whom we can therefore also be proud: we want to develop our military to a level at which it can both defend Hungary and hold its own within NATO.

Ladies and Gentlemen, Honourable Soldiers,

You have all sworn an oath to defend your homelands – even at the cost of your lives. You have all sworn to assure the security of our homelands and loved ones, and of the civilisation and culture that sustains us; these are goals for which it is worth accepting even the greatest risk. This is what you have done, and by doing so you have won our respect. Over its seventy-year existence, soldiers such as you have made NATO the strongest and most successful military alliance in history. You should know that we are also working to ensure that this remains true in the years ahead.

I wish you continued successful work, strength and good health. God protect our countries!