Hungarian House Speaker on approving Sweden's NATO accession: Someone's got to be last

January 25. 2024. – 12:02 PM


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László Kövér does not feel bad about Hungary being the only NATO member state that still hasn't approved Sweden's entry into the military alliance. The House Speaker spoke to Index by phone about Sweden's NATO membership.

"Why should we be uncomfortable about it? If the Swedes are not uncomfortable, then I have no reason to feel that way at all. On the other hand, somebody's got to be last," Kövér concluded, saying that the Swedes had been "arrogant and negligent towards us" in the past.

"If I may use military jargon, we aren't anybody's henchmen. In my opinion, there is a serious misunderstanding in the minds of the Swedes (...)

The Swedes – and I would like to note that the Finns as well – went so far in denigrating Hungary, in disparaging its democratically elected government and in restricting the room for manoeuvre that we cannot pretend it didn't happen, or that it was a minor circumstance"

Kövér said.

According to the Speaker, the Turks have certainly not tricked Hungary by ratifying Sweden's NATO accession before us. "I have personally stated in several interviews that we haven't had an agreement with the Turks on who will ratify NATO enlargement when. The Hungarian Parliament is independent and we are capable of deciding on our own when such a step should be taken. How the Turks take care of their own problems has no bearing on us," he said.

When asked if he planned to call an extraordinary session of parliament, he said no. "I have no doubt that one of the opposition parties – which generally do not serve Hungarian interests – will initiate calling one, most likely unsuccessfully. And I don't feel that there is any urgency anyways, I don't think there is any extraordinary situation" he said.

Kövér also said that he personally was not too supportive of Sweden joining NATO, and continued, "I would be delighted if our hopeful allies were to provide me with the opportunity to change my position in good conscience as soon as possible." He added: “This whole circus would have been over a long time ago if Mr Stoltenberg had put half as much effort into persuading Swedish politicians as he has put into sending us message after message.”

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán promised NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg that he would urge the Hungarian Parliament to ratify Sweden's accession to NATO at the first available opportunity. The next session of Parliament will take place at the end of February.

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