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Tuesday, March 21, 2023

Defense alliance: Finnish parliament votes to join NATO

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With a large majority, the Finnish parliament paved the way for the country to join NATO. And the green light could soon come from Hungary too. Things are more difficult with Turkey.

The path from Finland to NATO is clear, at least from the Finnish side. Parliament in Helsinki today voted by a large majority in favor of a government proposal on the legislation needed for the country’s entry into the Western Defense Alliance.

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President Sauli Niinist√∂ still has to approve the whole thing, but has already announced that he intends to do so immediately after the vote. However, Finland’s accession has yet to be ratified by Turkey and Hungary, whose parliament today began a debate on the acceptance of the accession protocols.

Finland shares a 1340 km border with Russia. In view of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, the northernmost country in the EU, like neighboring Sweden, applied for NATO membership in May 2022.

Voting in Hungary probably next week

Hungary’s State Secretary in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Peter Sztaray, spoke today on behalf of the right-wing government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban in favor of ratifying the accession protocols. The vote could take place early next week. The approval of the protocols is considered assured. The left and liberal opposition also wants to vote for it.

Apart from Turkey, Hungary is the last NATO country that has not yet ratified the accession of the two Nordic countries. Orban, who maintains good relations with Russia, has repeatedly spoken out in favor of accepting the accession protocols. At the same time, he complained that Sweden, in particular, kept attacking and insulting his country for no reason.

He didn’t go into details. Sweden currently holds the EU Presidency. Apparently, Orban was referring to Stockholm’s criticism of democratic deficits and the state of the rule of law in Hungary. Orban is also reluctant to support the EU sanctions against Russia. With the threat of a veto, he also obtained some exemptions for his country. For example, the import boycott of Russian oil does not apply to Hungary.

Things are more difficult with Turkey, which has long blocked NATO’s northern expansion. She justifies this attitude primarily with the fact that Sweden does not take sufficient action against terrorist organizations.

Source: Stern

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