Stop telling ‘lies’, Hungarian MPs tell Sweden on NATO bid

STOCKHOLM: Hungary supports Sweden’s membership of NATO, but Swedish politicians must stop spreading “lies” about Hungary and the rule of law, the head of a Hungarian parliamentary delegation said on Tuesday.

Hungary and Turkey are the only two NATO countries yet to ratify Sweden and Finland’s bids for membership.

Budapest is expected to vote for both countries to join the alliance “in the coming weeks,” Deputy Speaker of the Hungarian Parliament Csaba Hende told reporters in Stockholm.

“We started the debate last week and usually, if everything goes well, such a debate is over in a couple of weeks,” said Hende, who is a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s Fidesz party.

Hungary’s repeated delays in ratification have raised concerns in Sweden and Finland, whose offers are already being held back by Turkey.

According to the Hungarian parliament’s website, the vote was originally supposed to take place between March 6 and 9, but has now been pushed back to March 20 at the earliest.

Hende and other Hungarian MPs met with the Speaker of the Swedish Parliament for a “courtesy visit” on Tuesday.

“It was cordial, friendly, forward-looking and carried the hope of a new beginning,” said Hende.

“We have made it clear that the Hungarian government, the Hungarian President and the vast majority of MPs unanimously support Sweden’s NATO membership,” he said.

However, he noted that it was “necessary” to improve bilateral relations between Stockholm and Budapest.

Sweden must also “show Hungary more respect,” he said, accusing Sweden of spreading “lies.”

“It would be good if in the future Swedish politicians, members of the government, members of parliament and deputies would avoid portraying Hungary in a false light by evading a lack of rule of law based on clearly untrue facts,” he said.

Sweden is concerned that Hungary could use its NATO bid as leverage in its struggles with the European Union.

In December, Brussels froze billions of dollars pending anti-corruption reforms expected from Budapest.

The Hungarian government, unlike the rest of Europe, has also taken a mixed stance on the war in Ukraine, refusing to criticize Russian President Vladimir Putin by name. -AFP Stop telling ‘lies’, Hungarian MPs tell Sweden on NATO bid

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