While the European Commission threatens to freeze billions of euros in EU funds, Budapest has announced its postponement of the ratification of NATO membership of Sweden and Finland. The pro-Brussels opposition cries out for “blackmail”.
Sweden and Finland will have to wait at least until February 2023 before joining NATO. Contrary to what it had initially announced, Hungary will not ratify the accession of the two Scandinavian countries by the end of 2022.
On November 24, on the sidelines of a Visegrad Group summit in Kosice (Slovakia), Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban declared that his country’s parliament would vote on this issue “during the first session” in 2023. .
Hungary has argued that there is a legislative impasse due to the series of anti-corruption measures to be voted on by Parliament in response to fears on this subject from the European Commission, which is blocking part of the funding intended for the Member State. Judging the reforms undertaken so far by Budapest to be insufficient in order to strengthen the rule of law and the fight against corruption, Brussels let it be known on 24 November that it could freeze 13 billion euros of Community funds intended for Hungary.
A “blackmail”, in the eyes of the Hungarian opposition
Under the pretext of Russian intervention in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden submitted a joint candidacy in May to join the Atlantic Alliance, thus turning the page on decades of non-alignment. These accessions – which Russia has condemned – must however be accepted unanimously by the thirty member states of NATO. They have so far been ratified by all, with the exception of Turkey and Hungary.
“The Finns and the Swedes are our allies and, just as we can count on our allies, they can count on us too”, declared at the beginning of November Gergely Gulyas, the chief of staff of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, affirming “not to have of objections” to these memberships.
The opposition has repeatedly demanded that the issue be put on the agenda of Parliament, a request systematically rejected by the parliamentary majority. The Socialists denounced “an incomprehensible decision”, while the liberal formation Momentum accused the government of “blackmail” towards Brussels.
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