More talks needed on Finland, Sweden NATO bids – Hungary

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More talks between parliamentary groups are needed before lawmakers in Hungary vote on the ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated the position on Friday while speaking on public radio.

Orban said he had asked lawmakers of his nationalist Fidesz party to support their bid, adding however that some deputies were “not very enthusiastic” about the expansion and sought further discussions on the matter.

He noted that some ruling party lawmakers were concerned over NATO’s shared border with Russia extending by over 1,000 kms (620 miles), pointing to potential geopolitical risks arising from Finland’s entry.

Other lawmakers took issue with what Orban described as Finland and Sweden spreading “outright lies” about the health of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.

I fall into the camp of those urging calm,” Orban said in describing the debate on NATO expansion among his lawmakers.

“I understand, moreover, I agree with the view of the parliamentary group that not all is well. However, I asked them that in the end, it should be clear that in principle we support Sweden and Finland’s NATO entry. However, some serious discussions will be needed beforehand.”

Also Read: Finland’s parliament to vote on NATO membership

Ankara says Stockholm has harboured what it calls members of terrorist groups.

Turkey recently indicated it would approve only Finland for NATO membership, while Hungary says it has been delayed by a flurry of legislation required to unlock European Union funds.

“Regarding Turkey, they are also our allies, and therefore we need to hear their voice,” Orban said.

“We need to pay attention to Turkey as in the end, the entire process will stall. Unless there is a solution to Turkey’s problem, then the expansion could fail.”

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock last week called on Turkey and Hungary to allow Finland and Sweden to join NATO, stating she expects all NATO members to ratify their bids to join the defence alliance “without further delay”.

 

Zainab Sa’id

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