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Hungary nurtures plans to strengthen military

The Hungarian Defence Forces are planning to train 20,000 volunteer soldiers from January 2017, after Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán expressed dissatisfaction with the conditions of the country’s armed forces, online news portal index.hu reported today, citing an interview Orbán gave to Hungarian Catholic Radio.

According to the interview that the leader gave the radio in late September, a few days before the invalid refugee quota referendum, doubling the number of armed forces is only the beginning. Index.hu reports that there are also plans to teach basic military knowledge in more Hungarian schools. 

The concept is being nurtured by the Hungarian government in order to strengthen “patriotic commitment and the willingness to make sacrifices,” index.hu reported based on the interview. In practice, more young people would be offered the possibility of joining the army as volunteer soldiers, within the framework of emphasizing the national interest, the daily reported.

“A serious country has its own army, which is not an obligatory task to be ticked off, but an actual force to be taken seriously,” said Orbán in the interview.

Minister of Defence István Simicskó was also cited by the online daily as saying that Hungary is not planning to introduce military training in schools, but “a type of counter-culture: a value system and way of thinking based on patriotism.”