BUDAPEST, Hungary — Hungary’s parliament postponed ratifying Sweden’s NATO accession bid on Wednesday to its autumn legislative session.
The postponement, the latest in a long succession of delays that have gone on for a year, all but guarantees that the Nordic nation will not join the Western military alliance ahead of, or during, the NATO summit in July.
In a Facebook post on Wednesday, Agnes Vadai, a lawmaker with Hungary’s opposition Democratic Coalition party, wrote that Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his governing Fidesz party would not schedule a vote on Sweden’s accession during its final spring session next week.
Another lawmaker from the Democratic Coalition also confirmed that the vote would be delayed.
Hungary remains the only NATO member country, besides Turkey, that hasn’t yet approved Sweden’s bid to join the alliance.
The Nordic nation, along with neighboring Finland, dropped its longstanding military neutrality after Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022, and quickly signaled its intention to join NATO.
High-ranking Hungarian officials say they support Sweden’s membership bid while also making vague demands from Stockholm as conditions for approval.
In March, Hungary sent a delegation to Sweden and Finland to resolve “political disputes” that had raised doubts among some Fidesz lawmakers about whether to support their NATO applications.
Orban’s government has alleged that Swedish politicians have told “blatant lies” about the condition of Hungary’s democracy, which he said left some lawmakers unsure of whether to support the accession bid
Fidesz earlier also caused multiple delays in ratifying Finland’s NATO bid but swiftly passed the measure in March once Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan indicated that his government would move forward on the ratification.
The uncertainty over Sweden’s bid is amplified by Turkey’s own objections amid accusations that Stockholm is too soft on groups that Ankara deems to be terror organizations.
Erdogan this month said that NATO should not bet on his country approving Sweden’s application to join before the July 11-12 summit in Vilnius, Lithuania because the Nordic nation has not fully addressed his security concerns.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Monday that he would call an urgent meeting in the coming days to try to overcome Turkish objections to Sweden joining the military organization — a last-ditch effort to have the Nordic country standing alongside the allies at the Vilnius summit next month.
Source : ABC News