Hungary once again opposes Sweden's accession to NATO. Although Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said yesterday that his government supports Sweden's candidacy and that he will urge the Hungarian parliament to approve accession as soon as possible, his party in parliament today once again began to stall.
Hungary is the only country in NATO that has not yet given the green light for Sweden to join. The Turkish Parliament ratified Sweden's membership on Tuesday, and President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is expected to sign it in the coming days.
Yesterday, it seemed that Hungary would also come across the bridge, but today it sounded a completely different sound. Hungarian Parliament Speaker Laszlo Kóvier (Fidesz), Orban's party colleague, said there was no urgency at all in the issue. In an interview with the Hungarian state news channel Index, Kövír accused Sweden of treating Hungary with “arrogance and neglect.”
“It would be better if we took each other seriously,” he added. Kover said he did not support Sweden's accession, but added that he would be “happy” if Sweden gave me “the opportunity to change my position in good conscience as soon as possible.”
Orban has a steel grip on his party, which does exactly what it says. This is what makes Western observers doubt the sincerity of the statements made by the Hungarian Prime Minister yesterday.
Earlier this week, Orban proposed a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and he has now agreed. “I agree with you that a more intense political dialogue between our two countries would be beneficial,” Kristersson wrote in a letter published by Swedish public broadcaster SVT Nyheter. “There are, as I said, many issues of mutual interest. Completing the process of ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership in the Hungarian Parliament will create a solid foundation for moving forward in our bilateral relations and enhancing mutual understanding and trust.
The Swedish government stated that the meeting may be held next week in Brussels. But an early meeting in Budapest would also be a possibility.
Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022 after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Finland's accession was approved by all NATO countries in April last year. Consensus is required to join. However, Türkiye and Hungary continued to block Sweden's accession for several months. The two countries enjoy better relations with Russia than with other NATO allies.
The Turkish Parliament approves Sweden's membership in NATO. Another country in trouble
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