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Hungary lagging in defense spending

At a press conference held yesterday, NATO secretary general Jaap de Hoop Scheffer criticized Hungary on defense spending, daily Népszabadság reported.

Speaking in Budapest after talks with Hungarian top officials, de Hoop Scheffer said that while he recognized Hungarian troops' achievements in Iraq, Afghanistan and Kosovo, he was dissatisfied with Hungary’s defense spending, which amounts to only 1.1% of its GDP compared to the 2% required by the military alliance.

During his visit, the NATO secretary general held talks with Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány and Defense Minister Imre Szekeres on the preparations for a NATO summit to be held in Riga on November 28 and 29. Szekeres said that despite a tight budget, Hungary would fulfill its NATO commitments for next year. All forces dedicated to NATO missions have been prepared and are ready for deployment, he added. (Népszabadság)