Hungary expected to ratify Sweden’s NATO bid next month

“We will take up work in mid-September,” said Zsolt Németh, chairman of the Hungarian parliament’s foreign affairs committee

editor: REMIX NEWS
author: Thomas Brooke

Hungarian lawmakers will seek to ratify Sweden’s application to join NATO next month, a move that will eliminate the preliminary obstacle preventing the Scandinavian country from joining the bloc, a prominent politician from the ruling Fidesz party has said.

Speaking to InfoRádió on Thursday, Zsolt Németh, chairman of the Hungarian parliament’s foreign affairs committee, explained how he saw no need to reconvene parliament over the summer break to deal with the matter after Turkey, which also still needs to ratify Sweden’s membership, announced it will do so in October.

“We will take up work in mid-September,” Nemeth told the radio station. Such a timetable will ensure that Hungary will not be the last to ratify the agreement, a pledge previously made by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.

Sweden has been awaiting approval from both Budapest and Ankara for some time, and both Hungary and Turkey have used their leverage to express their own individual grievances with Stockholm.

Ankara has actively sought reforms to Swedish government policy related to anti-terror laws amid claims that Stockholm was harboring political activists Turkey deems to be terrorists. Meanwhile, Hungary used the opportunity to complain about how Swedish government officials and MEPs had spoken about Hungarian democracy and demanded greater respect from the Scandinavian country’s lawmakers.

“The Turkish-Swedish debate created political opportunities for Hungary,” Nemeth told the private broadcaster.

Hungary’s Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said during the NATO summit held in the Lithuanian capital of Vilnius earlier this week that his country’s ratification of Sweden’s application was now only a “technical question.”

“Our position regarding Sweden is clear: The government supports NATO membership. That is why we presented the proposal on this issue to the parliament many months ago,” he added in a Facebook post on Tuesday.

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