Hungary: “That’s why we can’t let Sweden into NATO yet”

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On Monday, Hungary said yes to Finland’s NATO application, but the Swedish application has not yet been ratified. According to a text published on the Hungarian government’s website, there are three reasons why Sweden’s application is not approved.

The first reason stated is that Sweden “constantly undermines” relations with Hungary. Swedish politicians have repeatedly criticized the country and used their political influence to “harm Hungarian interests”, says the text, signed by Zoltán Kovács, spokesperson for the Hungarian government.

Among other things, a statement from Ulf Kristersson (M) from 2021 is highlighted where he is said to have said that the EU must work to break the development in Hungary and put pressure on the Hungarian government.

The Koran burning is included

Reason number two is what is described as a “moral superiority” on the Swedish side. The text highlights statements that Hungary would be anti-Semitic or led by an oppressive regime, but also the Koran burning earlier this year in front of the Turkish embassy.

Saying that the Koran burning was an “expression of freedom of speech” was a way of “trying to hide blatant racism” in the guise of moral superiority, according to the text.

The third reason is described as the “lack of respect” and that the relationship between the countries has deteriorated over the years.

“Hungary wants to negotiate”

Sara Svensson, docent in political science at the university in Halmstad and who lived for many years in Hungary says this about Hungary’s declaration:

– Hungary wants to put a negotiation card on the table. They might be able to get certain Swedish actors to make them think before criticizing Hungary. It is not realistic to change the whole tone, but maybe make them think before criticizing Hungary.

Sara Svensson has lived in Hungary for several years and was part of Aktuellt directly from Budapest:

– You can also imagine that it is a signal to allies in Europe – that it is not okay to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.