Hungary’s president urges lawmakers to ratify Finland, Sweden Nato entry
BUDAPEST — Hungarian President Katalin Novak urged lawmakers on Wednesday to ratify Finland and Sweden’s Nato entry “as soon as possible” as deputies started debating the motions after months of the bills being stranded in parliament.
Sweden and Finland applied last year to join the transatlantic defense pact after Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. But all 30 Nato members need to back the applications and Sweden has faced objections from Turkey for harbouring what Ankara considers to be members of terrorist groups.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday talks with Sweden and Finland over their Nato membership bids would resume on March 9, although he said Sweden had still not fulfilled its obligations under a memorandum signed last year.
With Hungary’s ratification process stranded in parliament since July, nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orban aired concerns about Sweden and Finland’s Nato membership for the first time last Friday.
Among other criticisms, he has accused both countries of spreading “outright lies” about the health of democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.
“It is a complex decision, with serious consequences, so careful consideration is necessary,” Novak said on Facebook.
“My position is clear-cut: in the present situation, the accession of Sweden and Finland is justified. I trust the National Assembly will make a wise decision as soon as possible.”
Nationalist Orban said more talks were needed between parliamentary groups before lawmakers vote on the membership bids, which they will begin debating on Wednesday.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto on Tuesday said Hungary intends to send a parliamentary delegation to Finland on or around March 9 to discuss the Nordic nation’s pending Nato membership.
Orban’s chief of staff on Saturday said a vote on ratification may take place only in the second half of March.
Finland moves closer to joining Nato without Sweden
Nato launches ratification process for Sweden, Finland membership
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