Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has promised that Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids will definitely be one of the first items on the agenda when the country’s parliament reconvenes next year, probably in mid-February.
“I would like to emphasize that the Swedes and Finns were not deprived of membership for a minute because of Hungary.” Orban, citing Euronews, reported that the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia urged him to move forward with the process during a meeting on Thursday.
“We have already confirmed to Finland and Sweden that Hungary supports the NATO membership of these two countries, and the parliament will bring it up in the first session of next year.” Hungary’s Prime Minister said after apparently facing pressure to spell out a clear timeline during a meeting of the Visegrad Group in Slovakia.
Last month, Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said there was one “good luck” The Hungarian parliament will vote before the autumn session ends in mid-December. Parliament usually reconvenes in early February.
In May, Sweden and neighboring Finland formally applied for NATO membership, breaking with decades of neutrality amid Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine. While the bloc has accepted the demands, the Nordic countries’ proposals must be ratified by all 30 member states, with approval from Turkey and Hungary still pending.
Earlier this month, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock reprimanded Budapest and Ankara for delaying the ratification process, insisting that “crystal clear base” for allowing two Scandinavian countries to join the military bloc.
Hungarian officials have repeatedly stated their support for NATO expansion, and the measure is expected to be easily adopted as it stands. Meanwhile, Ankara demands more from Stockholm and Helsinki “terrorism”, Kurdish groups that are considered illegal, especially in Turkey. Negotiations on the issue are still ongoing.