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Hungary approves Finland's bid to join NATO

March 27, 2023

All 30 NATO members must approve new entrants, and Turkey is now the only country that has not ratified Finland's bid.

Finland's Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto hand a membership application to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenber
Finland and Sweden submitted simultaneous NATO membership applications Image: Wiktor Nummelin/TT NYHETSBYR?N/picture alliance

Hungarian lawmakers voted on Monday to support Finland's accession to NATO.

After months of foot-dragging by Prime Minister Viktor Orban's ruling Fidesz party, the country's parliament ratified Finland's application to join the military alliance.

Hungarian lawmakers voted 182 for and only six against with no abstentions.

Sweden's accession has been debated in the Bupadest parliament, but the vote on it has not yet been put on the agenda.

Hard way to NATO

Fearing that they would be next targeted after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine last year, Finland and Sweden abandoned their traditional position of military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership in May 2022.

Admitting a new country requires unanimity among all member nations.

Turkey is now the only one of NATO's 30 members not to have ratified Finland's NATO accession. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said however earlier this month Turkey would start the process of ratifying Finland's membership bid.

Although Orban has spoken out in favor of admitting both the Nordic countries to NATO, he seems to be coordinating closely with Erdogan.

Erdogan said Turkey would continue discussions with Sweden on security-related issues and that Sweden's NATO membership bid would depend directly on measures taken.

lo/jcg (AP, dpa, Reuters)