Orbán promised he would back Sweden’s plea two months ago, but it appears he changed his mind. In TV broadcasts, Hungary openly slams Sweden for an allegedly misleading educational video about the state of the Hungarian democracy. But in the background, there are other forces that might play a role, for instance, the tight Türkiye-Hungary cooperation. And Erdogan now wants more than ever to get his way.
The NATO enlargement with the two Baltic states, Sweden and Finland, has sparked heated political debates ever since it arose. The issue sheds light on the difficulties the alliance is struggling with. After the invasion of Ukraine, the two patriotically independent and well-armed nordic countries, Sweden and Finland, suddenly asked for acceptance to NATO. Finland’s bid was accepted by Hungary and Türkiye, but Sweden’s is still pending.
According to Foreign Policy, the cabinet uses the Swedish education material slamming the Orbán government for the weakening Hungarian democracy merely as an excuse. That is partly because the Swedish government or parliament does not influence what education support materials uploaded on UR, the educational sibling of the Swedish Public Radio, belonging to a state-run foundation. On the other hand, the foreign policy magazine highlighted Hungary’s democratic backsliding as a reality. It is also said to be the reason why Budapest has not received EU aid yet (although the government believes there is a Brussels conspiracy behind it).
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NATO enlargement jeopardised
However, Foreign Policy acknowledged that it was not the best idea to slam Hungary’s democracy amid such a critical time. And that goes for the media, education and opposition alike. Moreover, that is also true of “Momika and Danish provocateur Rasmus Paludan” burning Qurans in Sweden, which angered Erdogan greatly.
Foreign Policy argues that in a time of Russian aggression, NATO fails to demonstrate strength and unity, which is bad news.
American F-16 deal is behind the delays?
Meanwhile, G7, a Hungarian economy news outlet, said the background game is about American fighter-bombers. The essence of their writing is that Türkiye will not vote for Sweden’s accession until they receive 40 F-16 American fighters. Biden promised them, but the Congress has not authorised it yet. Therefore, Erdogan is frustrated. As a consequence, Sweden feels they became hostage in the USA-Türkiye arms game. And Hungary is on Türkiye’s side.
G7 reminded that all NATO member states ratified Sweden’s NATO bid one year ago. We wrote earlier today that the Speaker of the Hungarian parliament – one of Orbán’s oldest political allies – believes Hungary should not accept Sweden’s NATO accession.
Menczer: ‘Press rumour’ govt linking NATO ratification to Swedish visit
Hungary hosting NATO innovation body meetings this week
Budapest is hosting the meetings of two NATO innovation bodies from 18 to 22 September as part of a NATO Innovation Week, the defence ministry said on Monday. Hungary, as a testament to its commitment to NATO, is a founding member of both the NATO Innovation Fund (NIF) and the Defence Innovation Accelerator for the North Atlantic (DIANA), which have chosen Budapest as the location of their meetings, the ministry cited Imre Porkolab, ministerial commissioner for defence innovation, as saying.
Porkolab, who is also deputy chair of DIANA, said the defence ministry is organising the NATO Innovation Week “on the sidelines” of the DIANA and NIF meetings together with the Defence Innovation Research Institute (VIKI), with Defence Minister Kristóf Szalay-Bobrovniczky as the event’s chief patron. NIF and DIANA are both aimed at adapting advanced technologies developed in the civilian sector by partnering with small and medium-sized businesses, the commissioner said. As part of the Innovation Week, Hungary will present its innovation ecosystem to the other member states, the ministry said.
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