Hungary’s Parliament will ratify Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership in its first session in 2023, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban said on Thursday, bringing an end to several weeks of speculation that he would further delay the move.
Orban made the announcement in the Slovak city of Kosice after a meeting with leaders of the Visegrad Group of central European nations, known as the V4. The group includes Poland, Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary.
“Hungary is supporting the NATO membership of Finland and Sweden, and that Parliament will also be placing the issue on its agenda at the first session of next year,” Orban said. “The Swedes and the Finns have not lost a single minute because of Hungary so far, and they will not do so in future; Hungary will certainly be providing the support required for their accession.”
Some context: Sweden and Finland are set formally to end decades of neutrality and join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in a historic breakthrough for the alliance that deals a blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
While all 30 NATO members formally invited Sweden and Finland to join the alliance after approving their applications back in the summer, Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify the accession protocol.
Orban, an authoritarian and longtime Russian ally, won a fourth consecutive term in power in April, following a landslide election win that he touted as a rebuke of liberalism, the European Union and Ukraine’s President Volodymyr Zelensky.