Hungary is taking action to address what it considers to be “fake news” about its country by sending a delegation to Sweden ahead of the NATO membership decision. Although some remain doubtful of Hungary’s willingness to approve Sweden and Finland’s membership, representatives from all three countries will hold talks in Brussels next week. The decision of the Hungarian parliament on Swedish membership is yet to be seen.
Hungary Addresses Swedish "Lies" Ahead of NATO Membership Decision
Hungary has dispatched a group of delegates to Sweden to address the spreading of “fake news,” and “lies,” which they consider to be a significant issue in their country. This move was made ahead of Hungary's parliamentary discussion on whether Sweden should be allowed to join NATO, and their expected decision on Swedish membership is expected next month. Hungary is one of the two NATO countries, along with Turkey, that has yet to ratify Swedish and Finnish membership.
The Hungarian Foreign Minister, Peter Szijjarto, recently spoke out against the spread of false information regarding Hungary by Swedish government officials. Szijjarto accused the Swedish government of perpetuating lies and fabricating news about Hungary on a regular basis. In response, Hungary has decided to send a delegation to both parliaments to discuss the matter with the respective Speakers.
Hungary Delays Vote on Sweden and Finland Joining NATO
Last autumn, the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán stated that the country would ratify Sweden and Finland’s application in early 2023, but this statement has been met with skepticism by socialist Hungarian opposition MP Agnes Vadai. She suggested that Orbán may be trying to please Russian President Vladimir Putin and may also not want to leave Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan alone.
Despite this, representatives from the Swedish and Finnish governments will be holding talks in Brussels next week, along with Turkey, according to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg. He has stated that both Sweden and Finland are now in a much better position than before their application, and he hopes that Hungary will approve their membership applications soon.
Orbán has expressed reservations about Sweden and Finland’s membership applications, stating that it is inappropriate for these countries to request Hungary’s assistance while spreading lies about Hungary’s democracy and the rule of law. Nonetheless, the Hungarian parliament’s decision on Swedish membership remains to be seen.
In a radio interview on February 24, Orban said: “It’s not right for them to ask us to take them on board while they’re spreading blatant lies about Hungary, about the rule of law in Hungary, about our democracy and about life here.” Orban added: “(How) can anyone want to be our ally in a military system while they’re shamelessly spreading lies about Hungary? So let’s stop for a friendly word and ask them how this can be.”