Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has invited Ulf Kristersson, Prime Minister of Sweden, for a visit to Hungary, the prime minister’s press chief announced on Tuesday.
According to the invitation letter, the talks will focus on Sweden’s accession to NATO and the strengthening of bilateral relations between Hungary and Sweden by deepening mutual trust.
The timing of the invitation is no coincidence, as the Turkish parliament is due to vote on Sweden’s accession to NATO this week;
therefore, Hungary will also be compelled to formulate its own position. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s party is expected to argue in favor of ratifying the accession, leaving Hungary as the last nation to block the North Atlantic Alliance’s expansion.
Last summer, Péter Szijjártó, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade, promised that the issue of Swedish accession would be on the agenda of the National Assembly by autumn. Sweden’s membership of NATO would strengthen the northern flank of the alliance and help defend the eastern flank. Stockholm applied for membership in the North Atlantic alliance after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, in parallel with Finland, Bloomberg recalled. Finland has since become a member of the NATO.
In October 2023, Hungary Today reported that Turkey had signed the protocol on Sweden’s accession to NATO, concluding a year-and-a-half long process. This sparked questions whether Hungary will also make a decision on the topic; however, politicians, including leader of the Fidesz faction, Máté Kocsis, and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Péter Szijjártó, commented on the events, saying that “the ratification of Sweden’s accession to NATO is not on the agenda of the upcoming plenary session of the National Assembly,” and that
the fact that the Turkish President has submitted a draft law to the parliament approving the Scandinavian country’s accession to NATO has not changed the situation in Hungary.”
Hungary had demonstrated an amount of hesitancy regarding the NATO accession of the two Nordic states because of a number of political disagreements between the countries. Both Finland and Sweden (in addition to several more countries) joined a legal case against Hungary’s Child Protection Law, labeling it anti-LGBT or even as an “anti-gay law.” The child protection legislation – adopted in June, 2021 – has widened the scope for action against pedophile offenders, for example, the prohibition of advertising depicting sexuality, or promoting and portraying gender reassignment and homosexuality to children under the age of eighteen. Furthermore, it should be noted about the ratification of Finland’s request, that the country joined the European lawsuit only a day after the parliament in Budapest agreed to the Nordic state’s NATO membership, hence the amount of skepticism from certain Hungarian law-makers regarding a nod for Sweden.
Only recently, a video was made by Swedish public television with the aim of being shown in schools that depicts Hungary as an authoritarian state and human rights violator. The video, containing what some described as insulting and misleading accusations against Hungary, was commissioned by UR, the Swedish education portal, and has been approved for screening in schools.
At the time, Máté Kocsis, leader of the Fidesz faction emphasized that “it is completely incomprehensible to them “how the Swedes can believe that the Hungarian Parliament and the two factions will enthusiastically support Sweden’s NATO accession after such actions. I do not think that a reasonable person would do such a thing,” he remarked, adding that they are waiting for an explanation as it is needed to clarify the issue.
Via MTI; Featured image via Facebook/Orbán Viktor