Sweden NATO bid ratification not 'urgent' matter, Orban says
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban underlines that his country does not view the ratification of Sweden's bid to join NATO as "urgent".
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addressed the country's parliament on Monday, asserting that ratifying Sweden's NATO bid was not an "urgent" matter. Orban accused Sweden of challenging Hungary's "democratic nature" in his remarks.
Hungary has yet to vote in favor of Sweden's accession to NATO, aligning itself with Turkey, which had previously blocked Sweden's membership but lifted its veto in July.
Orban, who has previously voiced support for Sweden's NATO bid, characterized the issue as a "technicality" in the past. However, he now questions the urgency of the matter.
"I wonder if there is something urgent that would force us to ratify Sweden's NATO bid. I cannot see any such circumstance," Orban stated during the parliamentary session.
To support his stance, Orban pointed out that there is "no threat to Sweden's security" and no existing military relationship between Hungary and Sweden that could be jeopardized.
The strained relations between the two countries have escalated due to Budapest's allegations of Stockholm's "open hostile attitude." Hungarian officials have accused Swedish representatives of frequently criticizing Hungary on rule-of-law issues.
Tensions intensified in recent weeks when a video from 2019 resurfaced, allegedly suggesting a decline in Hungary's democratic principles.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto expressed concern over the video's dissemination to Swedish students, characterizing it as spreading "serious accusations and fake information." He conveyed his concerns in a letter to his Swedish counterpart in mid-September.
Orban, addressing the controversy during his parliamentary address, stated that the video's presentation in Swedish schools had escalated the issue "to the level of international policy," asserting that Hungary would not accept such actions.
Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO last year, citing changes in the European security picture because of the Ukraine crisis.
As Finland went on to become a member, Turkey, and Hungary stymied Sweden's bid, with Budapest citing grievances over Stockholm's criticism of Hungary's Prime Minister and Ankara accusing Sweden of harboring what it considers Kurdish terrorists and, most recently, meddling in Turkish elections.
Hungary went on to approve Sweden's membership, with Turkey remaining the sole NATO member to refuse it. However, Ankara changed its mind, and all that Sweden's accession into NATO now awaits is Hungary's ratification of the decision.