President Katalin Nováková hopes that Sweden will soon become a member of NATO. However, according to her, the Hungarian parliament decides on this issue.
“Hungary is a valuable partner, Hungarian soldiers play an important role in the stabilization of the Western Balkan region,” Stoltenberg further stated.
Nováková reminded that half a year ago there was an attack on Hungarian soldiers in Kosovo, members of the Hungarian mission in the Western Balkans still remain.
However, the approval of Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance has not yet appeared in the agenda of the plenary session of the Hungarian Parliament. Stoltenberg expects Sweden to join the alliance during the meeting of foreign ministers on November 28 and 29.
Minister of Foreign Affairs Péter Szijjártó, who said from New York that the fact that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has already submitted a draft law to approve the Scandinavian country’s entry to the parliament does not change the ratification of Sweden’s entry into NATO in Hungary.
On Tuesday, the opposition Hungarian Socialist Party (MSZP) initiated the convening of an extraordinary meeting of the Presidium of the National Assembly in order to speed up the ratification of Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance.
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Sweden originally hoped to be able to join NATO as early as the summer of 2022, but the country’s acceptance was blocked by Hungary and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. He delayed for months the submission of Sweden’s accession protocol for ratification in the Turkish parliament. At the same time, he criticized Stockholm for providing refuge to members of groups that Ankara considers terrorist.
Sweden therefore adopted a new anti-terrorism law this year. The Turkish president subsequently announced in July that he has no further reservations about Sweden joining NATO. Turkish presidential office on social network X https://twitter.com/tcbestepe/status/1716459615603363960, that the protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO was signed by President Erdogan and presented to the parliament on Monday. However, the date of the Turkish parliament’s vote on Sweden’s membership is not known.
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s government has officially supported Sweden’s entry since the summer of last year, with the relevant bill submitted by the cabinet 15 months ago, but the ruling Fidesz parliamentary group is increasingly opposed to approving such a move.
On September 25, Orbán declared in parliament that there are no urgent circumstances that would now force Hungary to ratify Sweden’s entry into the North Atlantic Alliance. He noted that the ruling Fidesz party has issues with a 2019 Swedish documentary that questions democracy in Hungary.
“If in public schools (in Sweden) they teach what we see about Hungary in the film in question, then the point is that this problem elevates a state politician to the level of international politics, and we will not accept that,” said Orbán.
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He then asked if Sweden’s membership in NATO was urgent. “Nothing threatens the security of Sweden. We have no military relations with Sweden that would pressure us. Keeping the Gripens (Swedish fighter planes) is an interesting question, but the truth is that there are at least ten other offers on the table,” uveld.
According to him, there is now no strategic element of Swedish-Hungarian relations that would be damaged if Hungary, before ratifying Sweden’s entry into NATO, insisted that Stockholm show respect to Budapest.
Only Turkey and Hungary did not approve Sweden’s entry into NATO. Deputies of the parliamentary factions of the Fidesz-KDNP government parties also discussed this question at the exit meeting in Esztergom. It showed a ten-minute Swedish documentary with critical content about democracy in Hungary, which was pointed out by several members of the Hungarian cabinet.
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The Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament, László Kövér, said in connection with the video that Hungary does not need such allies, and that it is not certain that Hungary must ratify Sweden’s entry into NATO. Kövér thus indicated another delay in the process of Sweden joining NATO.
“It is not certain that we have to ratify Sweden’s entry into NATO,” Kövér said, according to Reuters, after Hungary’s foreign minister wrote a letter to his Swedish counterpart expressing concern about “biased and unfair” accusations he said some Swedish politicians are making against Hungary to the government.
Sweden applied for NATO membership last spring along with Finland in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Finland is already a member of NATO, but it is not clear whether the Hungarian parliament will even meet this month to debate and vote on Sweden’s accession to NATO.
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The Hungarian government has already stated in the past that it fulfilled its task regarding Sweden’s application for NATO membership when it submitted the ratification document to the parliament last year. He will have the opportunity to decide when he will vote on ratification at the autumn plenary session, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó told Turkish television TRT World.
The head of Hungarian diplomacy noted that it has not yet been possible to resolve the disputed issues with Stockholm. “I note with regret that Hungary has become the target and victim of this international political discourse, which is characterized by criticism and judgments that intervene in Hungarian domestic political life,” added Szijjártó.
According to him, the government does not want to become an obstacle to Sweden’s membership in NATO, and has continuously consulted with Turkish leaders about the request of Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Alliance. It was also discussed during the visit of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to Budapest on August 20.