Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said that his country will ratify the membership of Sweden and Finland in NATO at the beginning of the next parliamentary session in January 2023.
The promise was made at a meeting of the prime ministers of the Visegrad Four – Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Hungary – in the Slovak city of Kosice.
“As for NATO, I can tell you that the government has already made a decision. We have already confirmed to both Finland and Sweden that Hungary supports the membership of these two countries in NATO, and at the first session of next year, Parliament will put this on the agenda,” he said, adding that three other prime ministers have put pressure on the Hungarians. to move them forward in this process.
“I would like to emphasize that the Swedes and Finns have not lost a single minute of their membership because of Hungary, and Hungary will certainly give them the necessary support to join. After the government, the parliament will come,” Orban said.
With the majority of Hungarian opposition parties in parliament in favor of NATO membership for the two Scandinavian countries, and with Orbán’s government holding a two-thirds majority, the measure is expected to be passed quickly when it is finally passed.
The V4 meeting came as divisions emerged within the regional bloc over Hungary’s approach to the war in Ukraine, which its partners perceived as overly conciliatory towards Russia.
Hungary’s delay in holding a NATO vote has also sparked rumors that Budapest is using the issue to put pressure on the EU, which frozen billions in financial support to Hungary over concerns that Orbán oversaw a systematic erosion of democratic standards and allowed widespread misuse of EU funds.
However, acknowledging significant differences of opinion on how to help Ukraine and punish Russia for its invasion, the leaders of the Visegrad Four said that common interests, such as ensuring energy security, stopping illegal immigration and strengthening border security, became the basis for continued cooperation. V4 in the future.