Orbán: more talks before Sweden and Finland can join NATO

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Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban
NOS News

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán says more talks are needed before his country can agree to Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

Orbán said on Hungarian radio this morning that he has asked MPs from his nationalist Fidesz party to support his proposal. He says he is in favor of accession, but some delegates “are not very enthusiastic” about NATO enlargement, he said.

Sweden and Finland decided shortly after the Russian invasion of Ukraine that they wanted to join the military alliance. The two countries then indicated that the war in Ukraine has completely changed the security situation. Finland shares a border of 1300 kilometers with Russia.

The parliaments of all 30 NATO member states must agree to join, and only Hungary and Turkey have not yet done so. It will be voted on in the Hungarian parliament next Wednesday. In the run-up, a delegation from the Fidesz party will go to the northern countries to smooth out the folds, a member of parliament said yesterday.

Favor asked after insult

Some MPs from the ruling Fidesz party resent that “politicians from these countries have insulted Hungary in recent years in a crude, baseless and often vulgar way and are now asking for a favour”.

The Hungarian parliament was due to vote on the accession of Finland and Sweden at the end of last year, but that process was postponed. According to Hungary, the delay is due to a crowded parliamentary agenda.

Hungary is currently in conflict with the EU over its rule of law. According to many EU countries, Hungary does not have this in order. That is why there is a proposal to the European Commission to freeze 13 billion euros in EU funds for Hungary until the country has its affairs in order.

Pressure medium

Orbán said this morning that Hungary ultimately supports Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership, but that Turkey’s concerns about Sweden’s accession need to be heard. Turkey has been in trouble for months. One of the reasons for this is that Sweden and Finland host members of the Kurdish parties PKK, YPG and supporters of the Gülen movement. According to Turkey, these are terrorist organizations.

Political analysts think that Orbán will not agree to have any leverage against the EU. For example, he is stronger in talks about releasing the billions of euros that Hungary may miss out on. Negotiations on that money may still run until the summer.

Still, Orbán said Hungary has “a moral obligation” to support the two countries’ application. This indicates that the country will ultimately not stand in the way.

  • NATO boss: Turkey must quickly approve Finland and Sweden’s accession
  • EU countries cannot agree on money for Hungary
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