Hungary’s parliament has approved a bill to allow Finland to join NATO once its application has been ratified by all 30 members of the alliance, after months of discussions on the matter.
The bill on Finland’s NATO accession was passed on Monday with 182 in favour and six votes against, after Fidesz said last week it would back the motion.
Finland and Sweden asked to join the trans-Atlantic military alliance last year in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the process has been held up by Türkiye and Hungary for national security reasons.
Although Finland’s bid has now been approved, the Swedish bill is still stranded in the Hungarian parliament.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said last week that Türkiye’s parliament would also start ratifying Finland’s accession. But it also held off approving Sweden’s bid.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has said he had urged Türkiye and Hungary to ratify both applications.
A vote on Sweden’s bid has not yet been scheduled in Budapest.
Held up EU funds for Hungary
Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief political aide said on Twitter on Sunday the government backed Sweden’s NATO membership and “now it’s up to the parliament to make a decision.”
“Some MPs are concerned due to Swedish government officials making a habit of constantly questioning the state of Hungarian democracy, thereby insulting our voters, MPs & the country as a whole,” Balazs Orban, who is not related to the prime minister, tweeted.
Fidesz lawmakers usually act in line the policies of Orban’s government as he has tightened his grip on the party.
Hungary is currently in talks with the European Commission which has held up disbursement of vital EU funds to the country due to claims of corruption and accusations of eroding democratic rights, which Orban denies.