Biden urges Hungary to welcome Sweden to NATO without delay

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US President encourages Turkey and Hungary to welcome Sweden as a NATO member

U.S. President Joe Biden issued a statement welcoming Finland’s accession to NATO, stressing that it was " the fastest ratification process in NATO’s modern history". In the same statement, Biden urged Hungary and Turkey to Sweden to "conclude Sweden's NATO ratification processes without delay".

Hungarian PM Viktor Orbán formally asked MEPs to support Finnish and Swedish accession at an off-site meeting of the Fidesz parliamentary group in Balatonfüred at the end of February. However, Gergely Gulyas, Orban's chief of staff pointed out that Sweden's involvement in an EU lawsuit against Hungary "does not help" the ratification process. 

Gergely GulyásFotó: Kovács Tamás/MTI/MTVA

On Monday evening, Katalin Novák told Turkish public media that she was in favor of accession because the country's participation would make NATO stronger.

Hungay's top diplomat calls the invitation of Ukraine's FM to Brussels meeting a "violation of NATO's unity"

Hungarian Foreign Minister Peter Szijarto expressed concerns over the invitation of Ukrainian FM Dmitro Kuleba to the ministerial meeting of the NATO Alliance states in Brussels.

"The invitation of Ukraine's foreign minister to the NATO Foreign Ministers' meeting is a violation of NATO's unity. Hungary will only support Ukraine's integration endeavors if they restore the rights of Hungarians in Transcarpathia," Szijjarto posted on Facebook.  

Hungary has been blocking the high-level NATO-Ukraine Committee for the past six years. The current event will take place despite Hungary's objection. On Tuesday, Kuleba met NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and EU Foreign Affairs Commissioner Josep Borrell.

Russia includes Hungary on ‘unfriendly countries’ list

"Hungary is considered an unfriendly country towards Russia because it accedes to the sanctions, but the channels for dialogue remain open," Yevgeny Stanislavov, Russia's ambassador to Hungary, told the Russian state news agency RIA Novosti. Moscow approved a list of countries unfriendly to Russia in March 2022, including Hungary.

"Budapest demonstrates a pragmatic position, from which it is not yet going to give up even under pressure from its EU and NATO allies," Stanislavov said. The Russian ambassador says the reason Hungary is categorized as an unfriendly country towards Russia is that Hungary has signed all the anti-Russian sanctions packages from Brussels and must comply with them. He also added that sanctions are hurting all areas of cooperation between the two countries, including economic, political, cultural, and human relations.

"We remain optimistic and we are striving for constructive cooperation with Hungary despite the negative impacts," Stanislavov said, adding that they will keep the channels of dialogue open to preserve the positive achievements accumulated over the years.

Szijjarto holds energy talks with Russia's deputy PM

Hungary's foreign minister Peter Szijjarto held telephone talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexander Novak about gas and oil shipments as well as nuclear cooperation.

Szijjarto added that Novak had reassured him that despite international sanctions, Russia would be able to do maintenance work on the Turkstream pipeline and that Hungary’s supply of Russian gas “will remain undisturbed in the upcoming period”.

According to his statement, they also discussed the construction of the new units of the Paks nuclear power plant. Szijjarto briefed Novak on the negotiations with Framatome, "which aim to ensure that the new plant will be equipped with Western European control systems, despite the German government's blocking of the project".