Politics

Hungarian government MPs boycott Sweden’s NATO entry

Budapest, Feb. 5 (EFE) – The absences of pro-government deputies prevented the Hungarian Parliament on Monday from voting on the ratification of Sweden’s entry into NATO, postponing the decision for at least three weeks.

Deputies from the ruling Fidesz (Hungarian Civic Alliance), of ultra-nationalist Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, did not attend Monday’s session, which had been summoned by the opposition.

Since Fidesz controls two-thirds of the seats in parliament, the necessary quorum to make decisions was not met.

“It is possible that Orbán is defending the interests of (Russian) President Vladimir Putin, because it is in his interest to make it impossible for NATO to become stronger,” said Bence Tordai, a deputy from the environmentalist Dialogue for Hungary party.

Other deputies, such as socialist Tamás Harangozó, questioned the government’s and Orbán’s discourse of “peace” as their only goal towards Ukraine.

“To what extent does someone who opposes the expansion of the alliance that guarantees our peace and security support peace?” the MP asked.

And while Fidesz was not in parliament, he noted the presence of numerous ambassadors accredited in Budapest from NATO member countries, such as representatives of the United States, Slovakia, Poland, Denmark and Norway.

The parliament will most likely vote on the ratification of Sweden’s accession after Feb. 26, when the spring session begins.

Sweden’s NATO membership has been blocked by Hungary and Turkey for more than a year.

After Ankara ratified the accession at the end of January, Budapest was left alone, despite earlier assurances that it would not be the last country to give its approval.

Fidesz ministers and deputies justify their refusal to speed up the ratification of NATO enlargement by saying that Sweden is “unfair” in its criticism of Hungary’s loss of democratic values. EFE

mn/ics/mcd

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