By Charles Szumski
(EurActiv) — The Hungarian parliament is not yet prepared to ratify Sweden’s application to join NATO, as the issue will not be on the agenda of the upcoming parliamentary session, despite expectations and earlier assurances, MP Ágnes Vadai said on Wednesday.
It has been a year and a half since Sweden decided to apply for NATO membership, and despite Budapest’s promise that it would not be the last to ratify Sweden’s application, it seems inevitable as Turkey, the other last non-signatory country, moves closer to signing.
Progress is being made in Ankara, with the parliamentary foreign affairs committee due to vote on the issue on Thursday. Ratification by the Turkish parliament can then take place quickly.
Euractiv understands that President Recep Tayyip Erdogan plans to take positive news to Berlin on Friday, where he will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
Meanwhile, when the Hungarian parliament meets next week in Budapest, the issue will not be on the agenda because the Hungarian parliament is not ready to ratify Sweden’s NATO application, MP Ágnes Vadai confirmed to the press on Wednesday.
Earlier, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungary’s approval through parliamentary ratification was a mere formality, as the issue had already been discussed and dealt with in committees.
Recently, the vote has been postponed several times. Hungarian politicians demand an explanation for the criticism of the country’s democratic development, similar to the concerns expressed by many other European politicians.
The Swedish government, however, is confident there will be more Hungarian assurances.
“We have not discussed it today, but the message has always been the same: that Hungary should not be the last country to ratify the Swedish application,” Defence Minister Pål Jonson said in Brussels on Tuesday.
However, Budapest has been a thorn in NATO’s side regarding the Alliance’s enlargement and support for Ukraine other than non-lethal aid.
Hungary has faced criticism for expanding its energy ties with Moscow while the war in Ukraine is still ongoing, repeatedly calling for peace, holding Kyiv to high standards of minority protection in exchange for setting up a NATO-Ukraine Council and withholding the disbursement of EU cash to the country.