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Parliament Debates NATO Enlargement

MTI-Hungary Today 2023.03.02.

Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO was debated in parliament on Wednesday. Parliamentary delegations will soon hold talks in Stockholm and Helsinki, while the opposition is accusing the government of stalling the process.

The debate comes as Hungary, like Turkey, has not yet ratified the accession of the two Nordic countries to NATO. Last week, Chancellery Minister Gergely Gulyás and Fidesz group leader Máté Kocsis said that the government supported the two countries’ accession, but there is a dispute in the Fidesz and KDNP groups, and parliamentary delegations will soon travel to the countries concerned to settle the dispute.

Péter Sztáray (Photo: MTI/Bruzák Noémi)

Péter Sztáray, State Secretary for Security Policy and Energy Security of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, said in his speech that NATO enlargement is a significant step towards increasing the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. Countries wishing to join are those that meet the requirements in all respects, have armed forces capable of cooperating with the armies of NATO member states, and share the democratic values of NATO member states. But he also pointed out that Hungary often faces unfounded and unfair criticism from the two countries.

Zsolt Németh (Photo:MTI/Bruzák Noémi)

Zsolt Németh (Fidesz), chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, said that Hungary supports enlargement, which will make NATO stronger with two world-class forces. He called the right of self-defense unquestionable, adding that Hungary is constantly looking for the most effective forms of support to help.
He spoke about the publication of peace plans as a new phenomenon, referring to China’s 12-point peace plan and the Vatican’s own peace ideas. This in itself is good news,  and Hungary welcomes their emergence, said Zsolt Németh, who said it was high time that the situation was taken to the diplomatic stage.

Lőrinc Nacsa (Photo: MTI/Bruzák Noémi)

On behalf of the smaller Christian Democratic governing party, Lőrinc Nacsa said that KDNP supports the ratification of the agreements. However, he noted that the two countries asking for help are those who have attacked Hungary on numerous occasions in recent years with completely unjustified accusations. He said that European politics and NATO must work on the basis of a dialogue based on mutual respect, and Hungary will provide this, but expects the same.

In military cooperation, there is no place for the brutal ideological pressure, and vile political attacks that we have witnessed in recent years,”

he added.

Ágnes Vadai (Photo: MTI/Bruzák Noémi)

The main opposition party, the left-liberal Democratic Coalition (DK), criticized the government for the delay in ratification. “The accession of Finland and Sweden will strengthen the alliance, the eastern wing of NATO, and increase Hungary’s security,” Ágnes Vadai said. Similar comments were made by representatives of other left-liberal opposition parties. Tamás Harangozó, MP of the Hungarian Socialist Party, called the government parties’ “procrastination” a disgrace.

Előd Novák (Photo: MTI/Koszticsák Szilárd)

In contrast, nationalist Mi Hazánk party MP Novák Előd called for a veto on Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO membership. According to the politician, the most important values are neutrality, peace, and sovereignty, while NATO enlargement can be seen as a provocation and risks starting a world war. He said that foreign troops have no place in Hungary.

Featured photo via Pixabay

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