The Fidesz parliamentary group is divided on the issue of Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, and therefore the Speaker of Parliament has been asked to send delegations to the two countries concerned, the leader of the Fidesz parliamentary group announced on Thursday.
Máté Kocsis said that the prime minister had asked the parliamentary group to support Finnish and Swedish NATO membership, but that the group was very divided on the issue. He added that “the politicians of these countries have insulted Hungary in the past years in a rude, unfounded, and often vulgar way, and now they are asking for a favor.”
The group leader said that the delegations would travel to the Nordic countries for consultation and that the visit would fit into the timeframe of parliament’s ordinary business. That is, it does not mean an extension of the order of business, and the decision will be made by parliament in time, he stressed.
The issue of Finland and Sweden joining NATO has been at the center of political attention for months, with the two Nordic countries having applied to join the alliance last summer. Up until then, both countries were neutral and therefore not members of the military alliance, but the war in Ukraine has changed their minds and they have asked to join. However, this could cause further problems, as Finland neighbors Russia, so NATO territory would extend directly to the Russian border, something the Russians strictly oppose.
The matter of Finland and Sweden’s applications has been pending in the Hungarian Parliament for seven months, and apart from Hungary, only Turkey has not yet approved the two countries’ entry into the military alliance. The question of ratification of the accession will be discussed from March 1, and a decision on the matter could be made the following week.
Regarding Hungary’s relationship with Finland and Sweden, problems are present. With Sweden, said relationship is quite ambivalent, though the two governments cannot seem to find common ground despite both being center-right.
The situation is a little more complicated with Finland, with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin vehemently urging the Hungarian government to ratify their membership application.
Marin wrote on Twitter last November that Hungary is trying to obtain withheld EU funds by delaying the ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession. In response, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary has never linked and will never link any other issue to the matter of EU funds, adding that this is also true for the NATO accession of Finland, among other issues.
Finnish politicians tend to put pressure on Hungary in the European Parliament as well. Finnish MEP Petri Sarvamaa (European People’s Party) voiced concerns about the EU funds and reforms, asking “How on earth are you going to assess that the changes Hungary makes will be enough to reduce the risk to the EU budget before we actually see any implementation on the ground?” This is probably what Fidesz politician Kocsis was referring to when he said that Finnish and Swedish politicians have insulted Hungary in the past years, and are now asking for a favor (regarding their expedited NATO membership ratification).
Featured photo via Facebook/NATO