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Hungarian Foreign Minister: Hungary's ratification of Sweden's NATO bid 'only a technical issue'

by Martin Fornusek July 11, 2023 11:52 AM 2 min read
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó heads to the Vilnius NATO summit, July 11, 2023. (Source: Péter Szijjártó/Facebook)
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Hungary's ratification of Sweden's NATO membership is "only a technical issue," the Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said on July 11.

"Our position regarding Sweden is also clear: the government supports NATO accession, which is why we presented the proposal on this issue to the parliament many months ago," Szijjártó wrote on Facebook.

"Closing the ratification process is only a technical issue."

The statement comes only a day after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan agreed to forward Stockholm's application to Turkey's parliament, opening the door to Sweden's membership.

Breaking with its long-standing neutrality policy, Sweden and Finland applied to join NATO in May 2022 in reaction to Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. While Helsinki has already joined the Alliance in this year's March, Stockholm's bid is still waiting for full approval by the Hungarian and the Turkish parliaments.

Budapest has been delaying the ratification over Sweden's past criticism of Hungary's democracy backsliding and the rule of law issues. In May, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said that the bilateral relations must improve before Hungary accepts Sweden's bid.

On June 28, Hungary announced the postponement of the vote on Sweden's accession to the legislative session in the fall. However, early in July, Szijjártó indicated that Budapest will not delay the issue if Turkey drops its reservations.

NATO chief: Erdogan backs Sweden’s membership bid
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on July 10 that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will forward Sweden’s NATO bit to Turkey’s parliament.

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