Swedish PM demands explanation from Orbán about delay on Hungary's vote on Sweden's NATO membership

March 23. 2023. – 03:42 PM


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Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is demanding answers from Hungary after Hungary decided to vote separately on Sweden's and Finland's NATO membership applications, Sweden's Aftonbladet writes.

"My question is: why is Sweden now being separated from Finland? These are signals we have not received from the Hungarian side before, so I will definitely raise this with Orbán today."

- the Swedish Prime Minister said. Kristersson's reference suggests that he plans to meet with the Hungarian PM today to clarify why only Finland's application for NATO membership will be voted on by the Hungarian Parliament at the end of March.

Fidesz leader Máté Kocsis announced last Friday that the vote on Finland's accession had been moved up to 27 March, while the vote on Sweden's accession would be postponed to a later date.

On Wednesday, House Speaker László Kövér said that the Swedish application would be approved "in the near future". At Thursday's government briefing, Minister of the Prime Minister's Office, Gergely Gulyás said that he did not know what the Fidesz parliamentary group's issue was with the Swedes. The minister also said that it was "very realistic" that they would vote on the issue in the spring. Last October, Gulyás had said it was likely that a decision would be taken during the autumn session of parliament.

The governing parties have been delaying a vote on the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO for several months. The issue is said to have been the subject of a serious debate at the Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary group meeting in Balatonfüred in February. MPs were said to have protested that Finnish and Swedish politicians had insulted Hungary. A negotiating delegation eventually went to the two countries to settle the dispute. Earlier this week, the Americans also urged Hungary to approve the accession applications. The Hungarian parliament has been delaying the decision for more than eight months, making the proposal one of the longest-debated in the last 13 years.

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