Hungary's ruling party to back Finland's NATO accession in March 27 vote
BUDAPEST (Reuters) - Hungary's legislature will vote on the ratification of Finland's NATO accession on March 27 and the majority ruling party bloc will unanimously support the bid, the leader of the ruling Fidesz party's parliamentary group said on Friday.
Mate Kocsis said in a Facebook post that the Fidesz parliamentary group will decide on Sweden's NATO accession "later," without specifying.
Sweden and Finland applied last year for membership of the transatlantic military alliance after Russian forces invaded Ukraine. All 30 NATO members must ratify the applications, and Hungary and Turkey have held back their approvals.
"We will bring forward the parliamentary vote (on Finland's NATO accession) to March 27 and will unanimously vote yes," Kocsis said in his statement.
"On the issue of Sweden, the parliamentary group will decide at a later date."
Kocsis' announcement comes on the same day as Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said that Turkey will start the process of ratifying Finland's NATO membership bid in parliament after the country took concrete steps to keep its promises.
Erdogan said Turkey will continue discussions with Sweden on terrorism-related issues.
Erdogan had met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban on Thursday in Ankara.
Hungary's ratification process has been stranded in parliament since July, and in February Orban accused Finland and Sweden of spreading "outright lies" about democracy and the rule of law in Hungary.
Earlier this month, Fidesz lawmakers visited Finland and Sweden for talks.
(Reporting by Krisztina Than; Editing by Hugh Lawson)