Hungary’s president Orbán says MPs ‘unenthusiastic’ about Sweden Nato bid

Hungary’s president, Viktor Orbán, has said that while he personally supports Swedish and Finnish accession to Nato, many MPs in his Fidesz party are worried because of the way the two countries “spread lies about us”.

Hungary’s president Orbán says MPs ‘unenthusiastic’ about Sweden Nato bid
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban speaks during a yearly State of the Nation address in Budapest, Hungary. Photo: Denes Erdos/AP/TT

In an interview on Hungarian public radio, Orbán said he had been encouraging his MPs to vote in favour of the two countries’ accession, but said that some MPs were “not very enthusiastic”. 

Some, he said, were worried that Finland joining Nato would increase Nato’s land border with Russia, while others were reluctant to admit the two countries due to their frequent complaints about democracy being undermined in Hungary.

“We need to have an exchange of words with the Swedes and Finns, because it doesn’t work if these countries are spreading outright lies about us,” Orbán said.

Hungary, he said, as a country that was dominated by Russia for decades, had a “moral obligation” to back the bid of the Nordic countries.

The European Union is currently blocking payments of recovery funds to Hungary over the country’s delays in bringing in the reforms it has called for to improve judicial independence and fight corruption.

“I fall into the camp of those urging calm,” Orbán said of the debate in the Hungarian parliament on Swedish and Finnish Nato membership. 

“I understand, moreover, I agree with the view of the parliamentary group that not all is well. However, I asked them that in the end, it should be clear that in principle we support Sweden and Finland’s Nato entry. However, some serious discussions will be needed beforehand.”

Hungary’s parliament is due to debate Sweden and Finland’s Nato entry next Wednesday.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Sweden’s Supreme Court signs off on first extradition to Turkey since Nato bid

Sweden's Supreme Court has given the green light for the government to extradite a PKK-supporter to Turkey, one of the demands made by Ankara to ratify Sweden's Nato membership.

Sweden's Supreme Court signs off on first extradition to Turkey since Nato bid

The ruling means it’s now up to Sweden’s government to decide on whether to extradite the man, newspaper Aftonbladet reported, adding that he would be the first PKK-supporter extradited by Sweden to Turkey.

In Sweden, the government makes the final decision on extradition request but cannot grant a request to another state if the Supreme Court rules against it.

According to Aftonbladet, the court reached the decision last week and comes just as the two countries are due to discuss Sweden’s stalled Nato application after the re-election of Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan.

The 35-year-old man was sentenced in 2014 to four years and seven months in a Turkish prison for transporting a bag containing cannabis, the newspaper said.

He was released on parole and moved to Sweden but was arrested in August last year following a request from Turkish prosecutors who want him to serve the rest of his sentence.

But the newspaper said the man claims the real reason he is being sought by Turkish authorities is his affiliation with the pro-Kurdish Peoples’ Democratic Party (HDP) and for having shown support for the PKK or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, a group blacklisted by Ankara.

In the decision, according to Aftonbladet, the court noted that it had asked the Turkish prosecutor if there were ongoing investigations or charges against the man regarding “propagating for terrorist organisation” or “insulting the Turkish president”, which the prosecutor denied.

Turkey and Hungary are the only Nato member states yet to ratify the Sweden’s bid – which requires unanimous ratification.

Erdoğan has so far blocked Sweden, accusing Stockholm of being a haven for “terrorists,” especially members of the PKK.

Cracking down on extremist groups and approving the extraditions dozens of suspects it believes are linked to a failed 2016 coup attempt and a decades-long Kurdish fight for an independent state have been key demands from Turkey.

Ending two centuries of neutrality and military non-alignment, Sweden and neighbouring Finland announced bids to join Nato in May 2022, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

While Sweden’s bid still faces opposition, Finland managed to become the 31st member of Nato on April 4th.