(B2) This week, Budapest formally submitted to its parliament a proposition to initiate its participation in the European task force engaged in the Sahel
The task force was initiated by France, but is soon to be led by a Swede.
Special operation forces
The Hungarian contribution will not be symbolic. Hungary intends to deploy up to 80 soldiers (the maximum). In reality, they will probably be a bit less. But they will be “in position of combat”. The Hungarian special operation forces (SOF) will ensure the “tasks of advice, support and mentoring of the Malian forces in combat“, the resolution specifies.
The first Hungarian contingent should be deployed during the first quarter of 2022. But a first preparatory deployment of around twenty soldiers should take place by the end of 2021. There will then be a four-months rotation “by adapting to the operational tasks of Takuba and the implementation of the strategy ”. The duration of the engagement is two years, until December 2023, according to the declaration to the national parliament.
Solidarity and political purpose
For Hungary, this commitment is justified by “the desire to be an active and credible contributor to Euro-Atlantic security”. But also for a reason which resonates particularly in the Hungarian countryside: migratory pressure. “One of the causes of the pressure from the south is the terrorist threat in the sub-Saharan region,” explains Szilárd Németh, Parliamentary State Secretary for Defense. Hungary “is therefore ready to increase its contribution to the security in the region. It is in our national interest to play a role in it ”, he adds.
NB: this commitment by Hungary was sealed during an meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban, a few months ago. A meeting which also had a high political value, such as an armistice in the skirmishes between the two leaders. We can bet that the holding of the commitment by Budapest is an exchange for reciprocity of Paris on other files.
Agnès Faure st. contributed to this article