Tensions over Sweden’s membership of NATO have been reignited after Turkish President Erdogan on Monday submitted a protocol to the Turkish parliament approving the country’s accession to NATO, bringing the Scandinavian country a step closer to joining the military alliance.
Following Erdogan’s move, international attention has again turned to Hungary.
In order for Sweden to join, it needs the support of all 31 allied countries. That is why many were caught off guard by the decision of the Hungarian parliament on Tuesday to once again refuse to vote on Sweden’s application for membership.
One reason why Hungary is dragging its feet on ratification is the fact that lawmakers from Hungary’s governing Fidesz party believe that Swedish politicians have spread “preposterous lies” about the state of Hungarian democracy, accusing the country of democratic backsliding, reported the Associated Press.
The Hungarian position has long been clear
Speaking from New York ahead of Tuesday’s U.N. Security Council meeting, Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said that the ratification process in the Turkish parliament “does not change anything” and that Hungarian lawmakers “will make a sovereign decision on this issue.”
Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also confirmed last month that Hungary was “in no hurry” to ratify Sweden’s accession to the EU, saying in response to a question from journalists that a senior Fidesz lawmaker saw “little chance” of parliament voting on the issue this year.
The Swedish application was submitted to the agenda by opposition MP Ágnes Vadai, a member of the liberal Democratic Coalition (DK). Vadai said that Hungary’s opposition and Sweden were in constant dialogue.
“I believe that the two countries (Turkey and Hungary) will ratify it, if not at the same time, then very close together,” Vadai added.