Nato: Hungarian delegation in Sweden and Finland

For months Hungary has been delaying its ratification of Sweden and Finland's bid to join Nato. A delegation led by Csaba Hende, Hungary's deputy parliamentary speaker, visited the two countries this week to discuss the issue. Commentators review the reasons for Orbán's delaying tactics and whether this strategy could succeed.

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Magyar Narancs (HU) /

A pointless tactic

Trying to blackmail the EU via Nato is counterproductive, says Magyar Narancs:

“An obvious explanation [for the Hungarian government's behaviour] could be that Orbán is trying to force the release of EU funds. ... But that's nonsensical: neither the Finnish nor the Swedish governments will be intimidated, and anyway, the EU is not Nato. All Orbán will achieve with this is to drag the US into his conflict with the EU. ... The Hungarian government has nothing in its hands - with this unjustifiable and pointless delaying and the circus that has been going on for eight months, it is only weakening its own position. And of course Hungary's as well.”

Kaleva (FI) /

Cards stacked against Budapest

Hungary is alienating its partners with its delaying tactics, adds Kaleva:

“It's unlikely that Hungary will be an obstacle for Finland and Sweden on their path to Nato membership. While Orbán is a skilful tactician the cards are stacked against him. The EU will hardly be willing to link the billions in subsidies for Hungary to Nato membership for two of its members. These are two completely different organisations. More likely the Hungarian prime minister's ugly tactics will anger both EU and Nato members. And anyway, Hungary needs the EU and Nato more than the EU and Nato need Hungary. The end result of Orbán's little tricks could ultimately be an embarrassing own goal.”

Népszava (HU) /

Orbán wants to score extra points with Russia

In fact Finland and Hungary are long-standing friends, Népszava sighs:

“For the sake of one of the darkest dictators of the 21st century who openly wants to subjugate his neighbours, Nato member Hungary has for months been blocking the accession of a European state that has a strong army but has lived in the shadow of Russian oppression for many centuries. ... 250 years of selfless friendship down the drain so that Viktor Orbán can score extra points with Russia, which has systematically conquered and humiliated the Hungarians over the same period - it's all so depressing.”