Hungarian parliament faces dispute over Sweden, Finland’s NATO membership

Hungarian parliament faces dispute over Sweden, Finland’s NATO membership

Prime Minister Viktor Orban faces disagreements in his party, says head of Fidesz parliamentary group

By Talha Ozturk

BELGRADE, Serbia (AA) - Hungary’s ruling party remains divided over Finland and Sweden's membership in NATO as the National Assembly, the country’s parliament, prepares to vote on the matter, a senior lawmaker said Thursday.

Mate Kocsis, the head of the nationalist Fidesz party's parliamentary caucus, said the party’s deputies are at odds over the issue and the party has asked the president of the National Assembly to send a delegation to the two countries to resolve the political dispute.

Lawmakers will vote on Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids in early March.

However, Kocsis said at a press conference that Prime Minister Viktor Orban supports the Nordic countries’ NATO membership bids.

"The prime minister asked for support for the NATO membership of Sweden and Finland, but the party group is very divided on this issue. Serious debate ensued. Many deputies objected that the politicians of these countries have insulted Hungary in recent years without foundation and rudeness, and now they are asking for favors,'' said Kocis.

The general debate on their membership bids will take place next week, and separate votes for each country will be held on March 6 and March 9.

Kocis added that the Speaker of the Parliament will send a delegation to Sweden and Finland for information and negotiation purposes.

Türkiye and Hungary are the only NATO members still to ratify the two countries’ bids.

Finland and Sweden abandoned their longstanding policies of military nonalignment and applied for membership in the alliance after Russia launched its war on Ukraine last February.

But NATO member Türkiye has not yet endorsed their accession, which requires unanimous approval from all alliance members.

Turkish officials say the two countries, particularly Sweden, have yet to take necessary steps against terrorism.

Ankara has hinted however that it is considering to ratify Finland’s NATO membership application separately from that of Sweden.

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