An overhead view of the session hall in the National Assembly of Hungary on Monday, 27 March 2023. Hungarian lawmakers yesterday voted 182 for and 6 against ratifying the Finnish accession protocol to Nato, leaving Turkey as the lone holdout in what is already a 10-month process. (Attila Kisbenedek – AFP / Lehtikuva)


THE HUNGARIAN PARLIAMENT on Monday approved the Finnish application to join Nato by a vote of 182 in favour and 6 against.

Helsingin Sanomat on Monday reported that all the ratification was opposed only by members of Our Homeland Movement, a far-right opposition party that believes expanding the defence alliance would geographically escalate Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine.

The party holds 6 of the 199 seats in the National Assembly.

“The Hungarian government supports Finland joining Nato. Finland has a strong army, and it has been a reliable partner for Nato. Finland meets the criteria and shares the values of Nato,” Tamás Menczer, the state secretary at the Hungarian Foreign Ministry, was quoted saying by Helsingin Sanomat.

Although the National Assembly ended up supporting the ratification overwhelmingly, the ruling and opposition parties disagreed on how the process should have been conducted, with opposition members criticising the ruling parties for what had been an indecisive process.

“We suspect that this hesitancy was dictated by [Russian President Vladimir] Putin,” Brenner Koloman, a member of the conservative party Jobbik – Conservatives, was quoted saying by Helsingin Sanomat.

YLE on Monday reported that Turkey is expected to ratify the membership application in the coming days, possibly as soon as on Wednesday.

“One diplomatic source said the ratification would most likely take place this Wednesday,” commented Mika Mäkeläinen, a YLE journalist following the ratification process in Turkey. The parliament here is working overtime this week because of the looming elections, so the ratification could also take place over the weekend or next week.”

Mäkeläinen added that the agenda of a parliamentary session will not be confirmed until moments before it begins.

Once Turkey has ratified the accession protocol of Finland, Jens Stoltenberg, the secretary general of Nato, will invite Finland to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty, the document forming the legal basis of the defence alliance. A Finnish representative will then travel to Washington DC, the US, to submit the accession documents to the Department of State, thus finalising the membership.

The Swedish application to join the alliance has yet to be ratified by either Hungary or Turkey.

Aleksi Teivainen – HT