Fast Market Research recommends "Hungary Defence & Security Report 2013" from Business Monitor International, now available
Boston, MA -- (SBWIRE) -- 02/12/2013 -- Hungary's centre-right government has spent 2012 reiterating its desire to modernise and upgrade ageing military assets and equipment, while remaining significantly constrained in budget. The government also offered ongoing resistance to foreign financial support from the EU or International Monetary Fund (IMF), further constraining its capacity to overhaul its armed forces. Nonetheless, BMI expects defence expenditure to increase by 8.69% (in dollars) to HUF371.12bn (US$1.72bn), or 2.46% of total government spending, in 2013.
The ruling Fidesz government reiterated its alignment with NATO through 2012 while straining relations with some of its counterparts in the EU. Following increasingly positive rhetoric about Hungary's chances of securing an IMF/EU external financing arrangement from government officials, Prime Minister Viktor Orban poured cold water on negotiations in September 2012, when he rejected IMF conditions and stated the administration would begin working on alternative proposals. A public more concerned by the domestic economic situation appears to have become increasingly disillusioned since the 2010 elections. As such, we see a lot of potential for extremist parties such as Jobbik to benefit from an increasingly disaffected electorate, which could exacerbate EU concerns.
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Meanwhile, Hungary faced criticism from some EU members and saw a suspension in diplomatic relations with Armenia after the government allowed the extradition of Ramil Safarov to Azerbaijan in August 2012. Safrov, a former lieutenant in Azerbaijan's military, was imprisoned after allegedly murdering Armenian lieutenant Gurgen Margaryan amid a NATO event held in Budapest in 2004.
In other diplomatic relations, the government came under fire from European lawmakers as they passed a resolution calling on Hungary to improve its observation of EU legislation and principles. The resolution called on the government to make changes in the rule of law, judicial independence, data protection, freedom of information, freedom of the press and the right to political opposition. Relations with wider Europe have also been dampened by Hungary's enactment of a new constitution in early 2012.
In one of the most salient developments in Hungary's internal security environment, the Terrorelharitasi Kozpont (Counter-Terrorism Centre or TEK) force has acquired secrecy and attention in equal parts since its establishment in late 2010. The organisation has been officially tasked with the protection of the head of Hungary's executive and has been given powers to monitor potential terrorism, arrest individuals suspected of criminal activity or those representing a 'danger' either to the public or themselves.
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