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Hungary keeps Sweden waiting

March 28th, 2023

As the Hungarian Parliament votes for Finland’s NATO membership but ‘awaits further assurances from Sweden’, a liberal and a left-wing commentator believe the government side is inconsistent in its attitude towards the plans of the two Nordic countries to join NATO.

In a radio interview on Sunday, Cabinet Minister Balázs Orbán, political director of the Prime Minister’s Office said Hungary is waiting for assurances from Sweden that verbal attacks against it will cease. He added that his government received such a commitment from Helsinki before Parliament decided to vote for Finland’s NATO membership on Monday. He added that Sweden’s NATO membership will be supported by the Hungarian Parliament and the gestures he refers to are only necessary for the resolution passed with the largest possible majority.

In Heti Világgazdaság, István Riba dismisses the government’s explanations for putting Finland’s membership to the vote while keeping Sweden waiting. He believes the real reason is that Turkey decided to admit Finland to NATO while maintaining its demand for the extradition of Kurdish militants from Sweden. He accuses the government of simply following Turkey’s expectations.

In Népszava, Tamás Rónay finds inconsistencies in the government’s statements over the issue. The Prime Minister, he writes, assured Finland that there is no linkage between their NATO membership bid and the suspension of the EU funds destined to Hungary. Rónay interprets the political director’s words as contradicting those of the Prime Minister, as the negative comments by Swedish officials he refers to have been made in connection with the rule-of-law procedure underway against Hungary within the EU.

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