Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said Thursday that Hungary supports Sweden and Finland joining NATO and that the parliament will formally ratify their memberships early next year.
“As we have already informed Sweden and Finland, Hungary supports the NATO membership of these two countries. It will be on the agenda of the first session of parliament” next year, Orban told reporters in Slovakia, according to AFP.
So far, the legislatures of 28 out of 30 NATO members have signed off on the two Nordic nations joining the alliance, with only Hungary and Turkey holding out.
Orban’s government submitted the legislation to the parliament back in July, but it was never brought to a vote. Hungary’s parliament is set to hold its first session of 2023 in February, and that’s when Orban expects the memberships to be approved.
Orban has been at odds with the rest of the EU over sanctions on Russia and joint aid to Ukraine. The EU blocked funding to the Hungarian government after he won reelection over allegations of corruption. Orban’s chief of staff has previously said this issue needs to be worked out before parliament can discuss Sweden and Finland’s NATO bids.
Turkey has said that it won’t approve of the Nordic nations joining NATO if they don’t live up to a deal signed back in June. Ankara’s main concern is Sweden and Finland’s alleged support for Kurdish militants, and Turkey has launched a major operation against Kurds in northern Syria, which could further complicate the NATO process.