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Hungary increases defence allocation

Hungarian defence spending trend, 2010–30 (Janes) (Janes)

Hungary's 2023 budget bill reached the country's parliament on 7 June, with the general debate expected later this month and the final vote scheduled for mid-July. The draft budget's allocation to the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is HUF719.1 billion (USD1.94 billion), a 28.3% nominal and 31.7% real cut compared to this year's budget. This is largely due to a 92% fall in the ‘accumulation budget' for the Hungarian Defence Forces, which is linked to the Zyrinyi 2026 defence development programme.

However, the draft bill also includes a HUF842 billion defence fund, 47% of which is allocated to the development of land-based capabilities, 26% to the air domain, 14% to military infrastructure, and 13% to other expenses.

When the defence fund is added, the total 2023 defence allocation exceeds HUF1.56 trillion, approaching USD4.5 billion, compared to USD3 billion this year. This is a 55.6% nominal and 48% real budget increase, with defence as a percentage of GDP increasing to 2.4% from 1.7% in 2022.

This is a significant increase given that Hungary allocated under 1% of GDP to defence during most of the 2010s, with a low of 0.72% in 2015. The total defence budget in 2023 is over three times higher in real terms than in 2015. There is also a clear focus on procurement, with the defence fund exceeding the value of the MoD allocation.

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