Szijjártó: Hungary's ratification of Sweden's NATO accession now only a technicality

July 11. 2023. – 10:51 AM



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The most important topics of the NATO summit in Vilnius will be the war in Ukraine and Sweden's accession to NATO, Hungarian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Trade Péter Szijjártó wrote on his Facebook page.

According to Szijjártó, Hungary's position is clear: "We need peace in Ukraine as soon as possible, because this is the only way to save lives. Our position on Sweden is also clear: the government supports its accession to NATO, which is why we submitted a proposal to this effect to Parliament many months ago. Completing the ratification is now only a technical matter," he wrote.

On Monday evening, following his meeting with the Turkish President, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced that long-resistant Turkey now also supports Sweden's accession to NATO. During the meeting, where Stoltenberg was accompanied by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed to forward Sweden's application for membership to the Turkish parliament and to ensure that it would ratify it.

The Hungarian government had originally planned to approve the Swedish and Finnish applications for accession last autumn, but this did not happen. Various explanations were then put forward as to why the proposals were not voted through, and in late February it was revealed that several members of the Fidesz-KDNP parliamentary group complained about the Swedes and the Finns having "insulted" Hungary in recent years. This led to a negotiating delegation being sent to both countries, after which the matter seemed to be settled, but in the end only the Finnish request was approved by Parliament in March.

In May, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that Hungarian-Swedish political relations were dreadful and that the Hungarian Parliament could only approve Sweden's application for NATO membership if relations between the two countries improved.

In early July, Szijjártó said that the decision on the ratification of the Swedish application "was entirely in the hands of the members of parliament, the government is ready, as it submitted the proposal long ago". He also said that during the last few days he had held several consultations with his Turkish counterpart and that communication with Ankara would remain close, as the Turks would be holding talks with Sweden and NATO. "If there should be any sort of shift, we will naturally keep our promise that Hungary will not delay any country in terms of membership," he said.

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