Hungary votes for Finland's Nato accession

After eight months of repeated postponements, the Hungarian parliament ratified Finland's bid for Nato accession on Monday by 182 votes to 6. It did not take a decision on Sweden's accession, however. Turkey's ratification for the two Nordic accession candidates is also still pending. Commentators assess the current state of play.

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Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

We can breathe a sigh of relief

Ilta-Sanomat is delightedthat the last hurdles on the path to joining Nato have been cleared:

“The biggest troublemaker, Turkey, is expected to agree to Finland's accession within a few days. And then we can breathe a sigh of relief. Finland's path to Nato is free of obstacles. The strange delaying tactics of both countries were merely a temporary phase that has now been overcome. ... In Finland support for the alliance has remained strong for a year now. Russia's illegal invasion of Ukraine has caused the Finnish opponents of Nato membership to rethink their position. The Kremlin has only itself to blame. ... No one doubts any more which camp Finland belongs to.”

Aftonbladet (SE) /

Stockholm needs a Plan B

Sweden cannot afford to just wait around for much longer, writes Aftonbladet's political editor Anders Lindberg:

“I think we should wait until the Nato summit in Vilnius in the summer before we start seriously discussing a Plan B instead of Nato membership. But no later than that. If Nato doesn't want to let us in, we have to find another way to ensure our security; military non-alignment is not enough after Russia's attack on Ukraine. Several options are conceivable, such as direct deals with the US, increased participation in the British-led Joint Expeditionary Force or a strengthening of the defence dimension in the EU. That would be worse than Nato but better than simply continuing to stand around, hat in hand.”

El Periódico de Catalunya (ES) /

Orbán's wheeling and dealing

Hungary's prime minister is playing for time, writes Periódico de Catalunya with an eye to the pending green light for Sweden's accession:

“Orbán is increasingly isolated in the EU and is anxiously looking for allies on its external borders, such as Serbia and Turkey. The alliance between Budapest and Ankara aimed at delaying accession clearly serves other political goals. ... Nato is worried about this delay, because a long wait could dampen Swedish society's recently acquired enthusiasm for Nato.”