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Orbán: Hungary will approve Sweden, Finland NATO bids next year

Hungary will ratify Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids early next year, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán announced Thursday at a V4 group meeting in Slovakia.

“When it comes to NATO, the government has made the decision, and we have informed Sweden and Finland that Hungary supports the membership of these two countries in NATO,” Orbán said.

While other NATO members quickly welcomed Finland and Sweden’s application to join the transatlantic defense alliance after Russia invaded Ukraine, Hungary and Turkey have yet to ratify their accession.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin told POLITICO earlier that she doesn’t expect Hungary and Turkey to block NATO expansion, but warned about the risks of delaying the accession. Orbán’s chief of staff signaled in October that Budapest planned to green-light the expansion of the alliance by mid-December at the latest.

Hungary dragging its heels on NATO expansion plans irritated the other V4 member countries — Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia — who are among Europe’s strongest supporters of Ukraine.

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Fariba Nawa is a journalist based in Istanbul and host of On Spec podcast. She’s also the author of “Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug...