Hungary’s Stance on Ukraine and Sweden’s NATO Membership: A Detailed Insight
Hungary’s Opposition to Ukraine’s International Support
Hungary’s Prime Minister, Viktor Orban, recently declared that Hungary would not back Ukraine in any international matter until the rights of ethnic Hungarians living in Ukraine are safeguarded. This statement was made during a parliamentary session, highlighting lingering issues between the two nations.
The Prime Minister aired concerns that Ukrainian authorities are attempting to convert Hungarian schools into Ukrainian ones and, if unsuccessful, aim to close them down. He pledged his government’s continued support for the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Western Ukraine, stating, “We will not support Ukraine on any issue on the international stage until it reinstates laws that guarantee the rights of Hungarians.”
Hungary has consistently criticized Ukraine for limiting the rights of approximately 150,000 ethnic Hungarians residing in Ukraine to use their mother tongue, particularly in the field of education. These rights were curtailed in 2017 when Kiev implemented a law limiting the use of minority languages in schools.
Hungary’s Position on Sweden’s NATO Accession Protocol
In the same parliamentary session, Orban revealed that Hungary is not eager to ratify Sweden’s accession protocol for NATO membership. He argued that Sweden’s security is not under threat and questioned if there were any urgent circumstances that would require Hungary to ratify Sweden’s NATO accession protocol. “I don’t see such circumstances,” he added.
Sweden, after several decades of neutrality, applied for membership in the alliance along with Finland in May last year, largely due to Russian aggression towards Ukraine. Both countries were officially invited to join NATO at the alliance’s summit in Madrid a year ago. While Finland joined the alliance in April this year, Sweden is still awaiting approval from Ankara and Budapest.
In conclusion, the main points to note from these developments are as follows. First, Hungary will withhold support for Ukraine in any international matter until the rights of ethnic Hungarians in Ukraine are protected. Second, Hungary has criticized Ukraine for restricting the rights of ethnic Hungarians, particularly in education. Thirdly, Hungary is not in a rush to approve Sweden’s NATO membership accession protocol. Lastly, Sweden’s membership in NATO is pending approval from Ankara and Budapest.
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