Hungary is threatening to stop Sweden from joining NATO over a 10-minute allegedly offensive Swedish video.
Details: The video "definitely does not help your continuously raised demand to be fulfilled," Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó said personally in a letter to Sweden's foreign minister on Thursday (14 September), referring to Sweden's request for Hungary to ratify its bid to join NATO.
The video was "fake information" that "democracy has been on a backslide in Hungary in the recent years [sic]," Szijjarto added in his official complaint.
The offending video was produced by UR, a Swedish public service broadcaster whose content is not influenced by the Swedish government.
It does not say anything that is not widely recognised in Europe.
The European Commission has initiated sanctions against Hungary and withheld billions of euros due to the thuggish rule of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán. The European Parliament has declared that Hungary "is no longer a full democracy".
But on Thursday, half of Orbán's government unexpectedly came out against the short Swedish film.
Quote: "Shocking Swedish government-approved educational video attacking Hungary! How do we convince Hungarian MPs to support Sweden's [NATO] membership when our democracy is repeatedly questioned, insulting our voters?", said the PM's chief political advisor Balázs Orbán.
Gergely Gulyás, a senior ruling party MP, added: "If the film is played in state schools, it means that Sweden is doing everything to prevent Hungary from ratifying its accession to NATO".
The sudden outcry came after Hungary announced at a NATO summit in July that it was ready to proceed with ratification.
Ágnes Vadai, an MP from the opposition Democratic Coalition party, says that the apparent reversal makes the country look silly on the international stage.
Türkiye and Hungary have not yet ratified Sweden's membership of NATO. For a long time, Ankara played a key role in blocking Swedish accession due to Stockholm's alleged connivance with terrorists, as well as after a series of Koran-burning actions in Sweden which angered many Muslim countries, including Türkiye.
- In July, at the Vilnius NATO summit, Türkiye agreed to unblock the ratification process of Sweden's accession to the Alliance in exchange for help in rapprochement with the European Union.
- Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said he will submit the ratification of Sweden's NATO bid to parliament in October when the legislature reconvenes after the summer recess.
- At the same time, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg believes that Sweden will finally become a member of the Alliance this autumn.