TRUMP EFFECT: NATO Ally Hungary to Increase Defence Spending to 2 Percent

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban (L) is welcomed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) as he arrives for the NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization) summit, at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, on July 11, 2018. (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP) (Photo credit should read FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty …
FRANCOIS MORI/AFP/Getty

Hungary has pledged to increase its defence spending after President Donald J. Trump pressured allies to pay their fair share during the alliance’s summit on Wednesday.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó told press during a break of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, that his country has embarked on a comprehensive military development scheme — dubbed Zrinyi 2026 — which will enable Hungary to honour its pledge to increase its defence spending to the minimum 2 percent of GDP, according to Hungarian wire service MTI.

The announcement came after criticisms from President Trump directed at the alliance members, the vast majority of whom do not spend the minimum 2 percent, Wednesday morning, with the U.S. president calling them “delinquent”.

“Many countries are not paying what they should, and, frankly, many countries owe us a tremendous amount of money from many years back,” Mr. Trump said at the breakfast with NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the residence of the U.S. ambassador to Belgium.

“They’re delinquent, as far as I’m concerned, because the United States has had to pay for them,” President Trump added.

Hungary, led by conservative and patriotic Prime Minister Viktor Orbán (pictured above with Stoltenberg), also plans to join NATO’s training mission in Iraq and expand its role in the international fight against Islamic State by increasing the number of Hungarian soldiers serving in the country from 167 to 200, Mr Szijjártó said.

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