Hungary delays protocol for Sweden and Finland to join NATO to February

Archive – Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto. – Tomas Tkacik/SOPA Images via ZUM / DPA

Hungary’s Parliament has delayed to February the ratification of Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession protocol after previously postponing it to early 2023 and with Turkey’s approval still pending.

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto has assured that while this ratification is expected to go ahead, the government does not intend to «put pressure on Ankara», with whom talks are stalled given Turkey’s refusal to approve accession if the two countries do not meet the requirements agreed in June during the summit held in Madrid.

Turkey and Hungary are the only NATO countries that have not ratified the protocol. The Hungarian authorities, for their part, have justified this delay by explaining that the parliamentary session will resume on February 20, so ratification will not take place before that date.

«We support NATO expansion, and the ratification process is on Parliament’s agenda for MPs to address when they reconvene in February. We hope to discuss it and resolve it,» he said during a press conference, according to the daily ‘Magyar Nemzet’.

In this sense, he clarified that «it is not his job to teach others how to make politics at an international level», so he pointed out that it will be «Turkey’s decision» whether or not to ratify the protocol.

The rest of the member states signed this document for the inclusion of Sweden and Finland on July 5, 2022. The process to join the Alliance will be completed as soon as all states ratify the protocol, a matter that does not have Turkey’s final approval at the moment.

In Ankara’s view, Sweden and Finland are still not complying with the agreement signed on the margins of the NATO summit in Madrid and are asking to speed up the extradition of alleged terrorists wanted by the Turkish authorities as an «indispensable» condition for achieving NATO enlargement.