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Hungary sets up agency to deal with Ukrainian conflict — Analysis

Viktor Orban, Prime Minister of Hungary will lead the Defense Council with special decision-making power

The Hungarian government has set up a new Defense Council led by Prime Minister Viktor Orban which has been given special decision-making authority, the PM’s press secretary Bertalan Havasi announced on Tuesday.

According to MTI (Hungarian news agency), Havasi stated that the council was established in response the the Ukrainian military conflict and subsequent economic crisis. He also noted that increased pressure from migration had made it necessary to pay special attention to protecting Hungary’s security and sovereignty in the coming years.

It will consider proposals and reports relating to national security and public safety, border controls and national defense, migrant protections, natural disaster protections and counter-terrorism efforts.

“The Defense Council allows government to make political decisions with special powers. The chairman is the prime minster, and the secretary the chief national safety adviser.”Havesi has explained.

Other members will also reportedly include the head of Orban’s office as well as Hungary’s interior, defense and foreign ministers, who will “meet as needed, but at least once every two weeks,” according to the secretary’s statement, who added that any member of the body can initiate an extraordinary meeting at any time.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban also confirmed the creation of the council, writing on Facebook that “All of Europe is suffering from the consequences of war, economic crisis and increasing migration pressure. In the coming years, we will therefore pay special attention to the defense of Hungary!”

In response to Russia’s launch of its military operations in Ukraine late February, Hungary has declined to send military aid and supported western sanctions, particularly in regard to energy imports.

Instead, Orban has insisted on increasing Hungary’s military capabilities while Defense Minister Kristof Szalay-Bobrovniczky ordered to increase the combat readiness of its armed forces in response to the Ukrainian conflict and the influx of migrants on the southern borders of the country.

Late May saw Budapest declare a state emergency in response to the conflict. Orban was given extraordinary powers. One of the emergency measures enacted by the government was to tax the “extra profits” of banks, insurance companies, airlines and energy and telecom utilities, among others, to fund the country’s military and social safety programs.

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