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Hungary Blocks Sweden's NATO Accession Bid Once Again

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Photo: Hungary Blocks Sweden's NATO Accession Bid Once Again. Source: Victor Orban's Facebook
Photo: Hungary Blocks Sweden's NATO Accession Bid Once Again. Source: Victor Orban's Facebook

Hungary's parliament was unable to vote on the ratification of Sweden's NATO accession bid on October 24th. Agnes Vadai, a member of the opposition party "Democratic Coalition of Hungary," reported that the proposal to vote on the ratification of Sweden's application had been blocked by lawmakers from the ruling Fidesz party, as reported by Associated Press.

The party led by Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban holds the majority in parliament. Its members have been refusing to vote on Sweden's application since July 2022, claiming that Sweden has concerns about the state of democracy in Hungary.

On July 31, Fidesz deputies also declined to ratify Sweden's NATO accession bid, by massively abstaining from the parliamentary session. The next vote on Sweden's accession is possible during the upcoming session, commencing on November 6.

Hungary and Turkey are the last NATO members yet to ratify Sweden's accession to the defensive alliance. Hungary delayed the ratification of Finland and Sweden's applications after Turkey expressed that there were "obstacles" to the procedure. However, Hungary's stance shifted after President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey supported the ratification of Finland's bid, leading Hungary to approve the relevant documents.

The difference in positions between Hungary and Turkey regarding Sweden's application lies in Turkey seeking specific actions from Sweden, while Budapest levels general accusations against Stockholm of "claiming moral superiority" and showing "disrespect."

In April 2023, an influential Hungarian civil servant anonymously stated that Hungary's position is primarily influenced by Turkey's interests.

Meanwhile, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan of Turkey no longer sees a reason to block Sweden's NATO accession. On October 23, he sent a ratification protocol to the country's parliament, paving the way for Sweden's entry into the Alliance. Consequently, it is hoped that Hungary's parliament will support the Scandinavian country's application during the next session.

It is worth noting that during her first visit to Brussels, Latvia's newly appointed Prime Minister Eva Silina expressed support for Ukraine's aspiration to join the European Union and NATO.

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