Hungary reproaches Sweden for its moral superiority as a justification for not to endorse NATO membership

Viktor Orbán, Prime Minister of Hungary, at the Hungarian Parliament – Europa Press/Contacto/Attila Volgyi

The Hungarian government has acknowledged that the delay in ratification for Sweden to join NATO is due to a series of »grievances» attributed to the authorities of the Nordic country, which it has accused of acting with »moral superiority» and of incurring »disrespect» for their criticism of Hungarian legislation.

The Hungarian Parliament has already given the green light to Finland’s membership in the Atlantic Alliance, but has not set a date for the debate concerning Sweden, in line with the position also held by Turkey. To join NATO, a candidate country needs the approval of all member states.

Viktor Orbán’s government has gone from not publicly opposing the accession of the two Nordic countries to delaying the parliamentary process and, now, to explaining that the Swedish case remains paralyzed until »a large number of grievances» are clarified, as the main government spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, pointed out on Wednesday.

In this sense, he considers that Swedish leaders of different ideologies maintain a »hostile attitude», attributed even to the current Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, to whom Budapest recalls his call for greater pressure on Orbán from the European Commission.

All this from a »throne» of »moral superiority», according to Kovacs, who then recalled that it is in Sweden where there have been protests in which copies of the Koran have been burned. For the spokesman, these burnings and the Swedish justifications appealing to freedom of expression are a »provocation» against Turkey.

Kovacs has clarified that these criticisms do not imply that Hungary is against Sweden’s accession to NATO, but he does see a need to »clear the air» before moving forward after years in which bilateral relations have deteriorated. It is in this interest that he frames the recent trip of a delegation from the Hungarian Parliament to Stockholm.

»However, it seems that the Swedish government simply does not care,» Kovacs has lamented, noting that »the security of the region is at stake» in this whole controversy. »It would be good if the Swedes would start accepting our common goals, but it seems that they are not letting go of the rancor at the moment,» he added.