Swedes and Finns asked Hungary not to ratify NATO membership – senior MP

Laszlo Kover said that he was urged by Swedish and Finnish citizens to block their countries’ accession to the US-led bloc

Swedes and Finns asked Hungary not to ratify NATO membership – senior MP

Swedes and Finns asked Hungary not to ratify NATO membership – senior MP

The two Nordic nations “forgot to ask their people” about joining the US-led bloc, Hungarian politician Laszlo Kover has said

Hungarian House Speaker Laszlo Kover has said that he received dozens of emails from Swedish and Finnish voters urging him to block their countries’ accession into NATO. Although Kover backed Finland’s successful membership bid, he claimed Budapest was betrayed by Helsinki immediately after the vote.

The Hungarian parliament voted in favor of Finland joining NATO last month, days before a similar vote in Türkiye cleared the way for the Nordic nation to become the bloc’s 31st member. Finland and Sweden both renounced their neutrality and applied to join NATO last year, and although polls indicated that the majority of voters in both countries supported the move, neither government put the decision to a referendum. 

“Hungarian representatives received dozens of emails from Sweden and Finland not to accept the accession, because according to them there is no democratic legitimacy behind the decision," Kover told Hungary’s Hir TV on Sunday.

“There was a referendum in Hungary” on NATO accession in 1999, Kover pointed out, while “in both Sweden and Finland they forgot to ask the people about this.”

The Hungarian government initially backed Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, but a parliamentary vote was then stalled after Prime Minister Viktor Orban accused both nations of “spreading blatant lies about Hungary, about the rule of law in Hungary, about democracy, about life here.”

Sweden and Finland have been fiercely critical of Hungary’s conservative government, with both supporting the EU’s withholding of funds from Budapest over Orban’s supposed stifling of LGBT and migrant rights, as well as judicial independence concerns.

Less than two weeks after Hungary voted to accept Finland into NATO, the Finnish and Swedish governments joined the European Commission’s legal case against Hungary’s Child Protection Law. The law, which forbids depictions of homosexuality or gender reassignment in media content aimed at under-18s, has been criticized by other EU members as anti-LGBT.

“As soon as Hungary gave its consent to Finland's accession, the next day the Finns immediately entered the LGBTQ case against Hungary at the European Court of Justice,” Kover told Hir TV, adding that “they have not shown even the slightest respect for Hungary or the will of the Hungarian people.”