Hungary’s problematic reputation in Europe will once again be confirmed when discussing the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO, reports Politico.
Like Turkey, Hungary has yet to ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership applications. Turkey has not approved the Nordic countries’ applications because it says Stockholm protects Kurdish militants and does not extradite those Ankara wants to try. Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government is also hesitant to approve the applications and move the process forward. On Wednesday, the 1st of March, discussions in the parliament should begin for the ratification of Finland and Sweden, however, it is already clear that the road will be full of obstacles.
The head of Orban’s Fidesz party announced in late February that serious discussions had taken place about the two countries’ admission to NATO, and Hungary planned to send delegations to Finland and Sweden to resolve the political issues that had arisen. Orban also supported this point of view and stated that,
although Hungary is in principle in favor of admitting the Nordic countries into the alliance, serious discussions are necessary.
The Hungarian Prime Minister recalled the reprimands of Finland and Sweden for violations of the rule of law to Hungary, and said that his party members question whether it is reasonable to be in an alliance with countries that «spread shameless lies about Hungary, about the rule of law in Hungary, about democracy and life here.»
Orban’s comments have confirmed concerns in Brussels that the politician could use Hungary’s influence on the NATO expansion issue to achieve relief on rule of law issues.
EC Vice-President Věra Jourová stated in February that Hungary needs to organize the justice system in the near future and promote its liberation from political influence. Otherwise, the country will not receive money from the EU recovery funds.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg visited Helsinki on the 27th of February and the main issue on the agenda was Finland’s admission to the alliance. Stoltenberg called on Turkey and Hungary to approve the applications and to do so quickly.
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