Hungary Again Fails to Ratify Sweden's NATO Accession Application
Hungary has once again postponed the ratification of Sweden's application for NATO membership, as the pro-Russian party of Prime Minister Viktor Orban boycotted the special parliamentary session convened by opposition parties for this purpose. This development has been reported by Bloomberg.
Today's session was deferred due to the absence of ruling party members, who hold a two-thirds majority in the chamber.
Last week, Gergely Gulyas, a government minister, stated that the Hungarian Parliament could approve Sweden's entry into the Alliance in the autumn. This sentiment was echoed by Zsolt Nemeth, Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee on Foreign Affairs, who believes that no extraordinary parliamentary session is required for this and the matter can be discussed during the regular autumn session, expected to convene in mid-September.
Currently, the only two NATO member countries that have not ratified Sweden's membership are Hungary and Turkey.
Recalling that Sweden submitted its application for NATO membership back in 2022, prompted by security concerns following Russia's military invasion of Ukraine last year, all other member countries have already ratified the application, except for Hungary and Turkey.
Turkey had placed several conditions on Sweden's entry, while Hungary, like in the case of Finland, which was admitted to NATO before Sweden, waited for a final decision from Turkish President Erdogan.
Earlier, Turkey withdrew its objections to Sweden's application after Stockholm promised to devise a new plan to curb Kurdish separatist groups in the northern region, which Istanbul considers as terrorist organizations.
Following the NATO summit in Vilnius, Erdogan pledged to approve Sweden's application immediately after the parliament returns from summer recess.
On the other hand, the pro-Russian government of Orban, which took offence at Sweden's principled criticism of Hungarian legislation, declared that the parliament would ratify the NATO membership application as soon as Turkey does. Hungarian officials did not explain why Budapest tied its decision to Ankara's move.
As Hungary closely cooperated with Turkey during the negotiations, these debates have created political opportunities for Hungary, which Orban seeks to leverage.