By Chris King •
Updated: 29 Jul 2023 • 14:44
Image of Hungarian PM Viktor Orban.
Credit: Alexandros Michailidis/Shutterstock.com
HUNGARY’S opposition party has requested that parliament be convened on Monday, July 31, to vote through NATO membership and some other issues.
However, last Thursday 27, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s spokesman said in connection with the usual government information: ‘We see no reason to rush, why can’t we do this according to the usual agenda?’.
The implied meaning seemed to be that Fidesz does not intend to vote on NATO until the parliament’s summer recess is over this autumn.
Sara Svensson, a Hungarian expert and political scientist at Halmstad University, told Aftonbladet: ‘What can be expected on Monday is that only the opposition will be there. Then the parliament is not decision-making, and can neither say yes nor no to Sweden’s membership’.
She continued: ‘Here is something the opposition sometimes does. During the time that Fidesz ruled, it has happened 16 times. At no time has it led to any decision, but it is a way of highlighting the issue’.
Fidesz is the ruling party in Hungary, with two-thirds of the seats in parliament. As a result: ‘There is not much you can do without them’, Svensson noted.
Orban’s government has never given any specific explanation for its hesitation in delaying ratifying Sweden’s entry to NATO. The most common analysis seen by the experts is that they have it as a playing card, that they want to be able to have it as some kind of negotiating capital.
Perhaps they don’t want to give up this playing card until they really have to, which would be when Hungary found itself the last country left to approve the application.
What is a bit unusual now is that leading Fidesz politicians such as Orban and the country’s president, Katalin Novák, have previously said that they are in favour of Sweden joining.
Instead though, they have referred to the fact that there are other politicians in the party who do not support it. It is not an entirely credible argument because Fidesz is very top-managed.
Budapest has said several times that Hungary will not be the last country to make a decision, so the most likely thing is that a vote will be held at some point, probably this autumn. ‘There have been so many trips back and forth so I believe it when I see it’, said Sara Svensson.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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