Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban has promised that Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership bids are sure to be high on the agenda when the country’s parliament meets again next year. , probably around mid-February.
“I want to emphasize that the Swedes and Finns have not lost a single minute of membership because of Hungary”, Orban said, quoted by Euronews, adding that the prime ministers of Poland, the Czech Republic and Slovakia urged him to move the process forward during their meeting on Thursday.
“We have already confirmed to Finland and Sweden that Hungary supports these two countries joining NATO, and in the first session next year Parliament will put this on the agenda. “, he added. the Hungarian prime minister said, apparently after coming under pressure at a meeting of the Visegrad Group in Slovakia.
Last month, Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, said there was a “good luck” the Hungarian parliament would vote before the end of its autumn session in mid-December. Parliament usually meets again in early February.
In May, amid Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, Sweden and neighboring Finland broke with their decades-long stance of neutrality and formally applied for NATO membership. While the bloc has accepted the applications, the candidacies of the Nordic nations must be ratified by all 30 member states, and approval from Turkey and Hungary is still pending.
Earlier this month, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock chastised Budapest and Ankara for delaying the ratification process, insisting there was a “clear base” for allowing the two Nordic nations to join the military bloc.
Hungarian officials have repeatedly declared their support for NATO expansion, and the measure should pass easily once it passes. Meanwhile, Ankara demands that Stockholm and Helsinki do more to fight each other “terrorism,” especially Kurdish groups which are banned in Turkey. Negotiations on this are still ongoing.