The Hungarian Parliament will approve the entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO early next year, announced Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Accession protocols have so far been ratified by 28 NATO members, and only Hungary and Turkey have yet to give their final consent.
“As we have already informed Sweden and Finland, Hungary supports their membership in NATO. This will also be on the agenda of the first session of the parliament” next year, Orban said after a meeting with regional colleagues in Slovakia.
“Hungary will definitely support their approach, after the government has done it, the parliament will also do it,” Orban also said.
The Hungarian government submitted relevant legislation in July, but the parliament, in which Orban’s ruling Fidesz party has a two-thirds majority, has yet to submit the two bills for debate and approval.
The first session of the Hungarian parliament next year is expected to begin in February.
Following Russia’s attack on Ukraine, Sweden and Finland, after decades of neutrality, applied for NATO membership in May this year. At the June summit, NATO leaders then officially invited them to join and agreed to sign the accession protocols, which must be ratified by all member states. So far, their accession protocols have been ratified by 28 out of a total of 30 NATO members. Only the Hungarian and Turkish parliaments have to give their final consent.
Hungary’s ruling party has repeatedly refused to plan a parliamentary vote on the issue, although the government insists it supports the two Nordic countries’ accession to NATO.
Earlier this month, Hungarian Prime Minister Gergely Gulyas’ chief of staff said Hungary must first pass anti-corruption reforms closely watched by Brussels before parliament can turn to the NATO issue. The Hungarian opposition, however, accused Orban’s party of delaying the vote, as it refuses to place this issue on the parliament’s agenda.
Ankara, meanwhile, has blocked Sweden and Finland from joining NATO since May because of their alleged support for the Syrian Kurdish militia YPK, which it believes is linked to the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK), which it labels a terrorist group.