Hungary on mission to debunk ‘fake news’ from Sweden
As the Hungarian parliament will discuss Sweden’s NATO membership this week, Budapest sent a delegation to Sweden to address “legitimate concerns” regarding Sweden spreading “fake news” about Hungary over the last few years.
The Hungarian parliament, set to discuss Sweden’s NATO membership this week before it is expected to decide on Swedish membership next month, has now decided to send a delegation to the country. Hungary and Turkey are the only remaining NATO countries that have not yet ratified Swedish and Finnish membership.
“In recent years, lies and fabricated news about Hungary have been spread by government officials in Sweden quite regularly,” Szijjarto told SVT in the Agenda programme.
According to Szijjarto, Swedish government officials have been guilty of insulting Hungarian MPs, something Hungary now wants to address.
“To address legitimate concerns about this, we have decided to send a delegation to both parliaments to ask the Speakers of the respective parliaments to put together a delegation to discuss this issue”, Szijjarto said.
Hungary’s discussion of Sweden’s NATO membership was supposed to occur last autumn. It did not happen for various reasons, ranging from urgent legislative proposals necessary to obtain the EU COVID funds to the fact that the Hungarian government could allegedly not get the topic on parliament’s agenda.
Last autumn, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said the country would ratify Sweden and Finland’s application in early 2023, but his willingness has been repeatedly questioned, namely in the Swedish media by socialist Hungarian opposition MP Agnes Vadai.
“Both Putin and Erdogan have an interest in this. There are rumours that Orbán wants to please Putin. Especially when it comes to Finland, as there will be a long NATO border. Then he also does not want to leave Erdogan alone,” she told Aftonbladet earlier this month.
Despite Orban’s apparent willingness to approve the application, Vadai said she would not necessarily trust it.
“I am not Viktor Orbán, and I don’t think like Viktor Orbán, which I am happy about. He is ready to change his mind at any time. Either for political reasons or to do someone a favour. But I hope he doesn’t,” she said.
Representatives of the Turkish, Swedish and Finnish governments will hold talks in Brussels next week, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference together with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Tuesday, citing progress in the negotiations with Turkey, EURACTIV’s partner Telex reported.
Sweden and Finland are “already in a much better position than before their application because it is inconceivable that NATO would not react if Sweden or Finland was threatened,” said Stoltenberg, adding that he hopes that the case can be given the green signal “quickly” in Budapest.
“Among ourselves, the representatives are not entirely enthusiastic,” Orbán said in a radio interview on Friday.
“There are those who think that we should exchange a few words with the good-hearted Finns and Swedes because it does not work that the two countries are asking us for help, while they unabashedly spread obvious lies about Hungary, for example, that there is no democracy or the rule of law here,” he added.
(Charles Szumski, Sofia Stuart Leeson | EURACTIV.com with Telex)