Hungary and Turkey should stop blocking the ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership, German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on Thursday, adding that there is a “crystal clear foundation” because the two Nordic nations were allowed to join the military bloc.
Ankara and Budapest have delayed the process, and Trkiye points to concerns over Sweden’s and Finland’s alleged support for Kurdish “terrorism,” while Hungary claims it will vote on the issue after resolving a number of differences with the EU.
Baerbock spoke at a joint press conference with his Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billström, that both Ankara and Budapest have committed to formalizing the accession “and that’s exactly what they need to do now.”
She went on to reprimand Budapest for delaying the ratification process. “Regarding the issue of Hungary: I would like to underline this clearly … there is no gray area,” she noted, adding that Berlin would provide “its kind encouragement” for the connection process.
In May, amid Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, Sweden and neighboring Finland broke with their decades-long stance of neutrality and formally applied for NATO membership. While the bloc accepted the requests, the Nordic nations’ bid must be ratified by all 30 member states, with Trkiye and Hungary’s approval still pending.
Ankara demands that Stockholm and Helsinki do more to fight “terrorism,” especially Kurdish groups that are banned in Trkiye. Negotiations on the issue are still ongoing.
Hungarian officials have repeatedly expressed their support for NATO expansion. On Wednesday, Gergely Gulyas, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff, claimed that the Hungarian parliament would discuss the ratification in the autumn session.
“Finland and Sweden are our allies and they can trust us.” he said, adding that he hopes they will finish the process “before the end of the year.”
The Hungarian government tabled the relevant bills in mid-July, but they have still not been debated. Budapest has denied it is holding up the accession process, but officials said they would not vote on the issue until they enact laws aimed at easing the dispute with the EU, which has proposed cutting about 7.5 billion ($7.66 billion ) in funding for Budapest over corruption issues.