Parliament has given its consent to Finland’s accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO). MPs approved the law on the proclamation of the accession protocol by 182 votes to 6.
The previously neutral northern European country applied to join the military alliance after the outbreak of the Russian-Ukrainian war. Finland will become a member when it deposits its instrument of accession with the US Government.
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Péter Szijjártó submitted the bill on the ratification of the accession on 14 July 2022, and the Parliament started the general debate on the bill in March this year.
Péter Sztáray, Minister of State for Security Policy and Energy Security, said in the general debate that the Hungarian government considers NATO enlargement a significant step towards increasing the security of the Euro-Atlantic area. The Secretary of State said that countries wishing to join are those that meet the requirements in all respects, have armed forces capable of striking, able to cooperate with the armies of NATO member states, and share the democratic values of NATO member states.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (C) with her Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orbán (back). Photo: Miniszterelnöki Sajtóiroda/Benko Vivien Cher
Hungary is one of the last NATO member-states to ratify Finland’s membership, only Turkey is yet to vote on the matter later this week. The only candidacy still to be voted on in Parliament is that of Sweden. Past disputes and political attacks from Swedish politicians against Hungary seem to have come back to haunt the Scandinavian country’s efforts to join NATO.
Although Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has made it clear that he supports both country’s membership in the defense alliance, some MPs of the governing FIDESZ and KDNP parties have objected to writing a blank check to the two NATO candidates.
The political disputes with Finland seem to have been put aside for now, but they apparently persist with regards to the Swedish government, that has opted for a passive attitude as far as a dialogue with their Hungarian counterparts is concerned. All this, despite the fact that Sweden is one of Hungary’s largest weapons suppliers, such as the JAS-Gripen fighter jets, or the Carl Gustaf man-portable shoulder-fired recoilless rifle.
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