Orban’s victory could block Finland’s NATO aspirations

In his column, published in the e-zine Uusi Suomi on Tuesday, Limnéll recalled the dispute over the principles of the rule of law, which was one of the country’s top priorities during its EU presidency in 2019. It also prompted Hungary to launch a smear campaign against Finland’s judicial system. [EPA-EFE/VICTOR LERENA]

Hungary’s newly re-elected Prime Minister Viktor Orbán and his Fidesz party winning Sunday’s elections makes some Finnish analysts wonder whether Orbán could stand in the way of their NATO aspirations or ask NATO or the EU for something in return for his support.

Among those analysing the issue is Jarno Limnéll, MP for the liberal-conservative National Coalition Party, a professor at Aalto University specialising in cyber security and a member of the World Economic Forum’s expert network.

In his column, published in the e-zine Uusi Suomi on Tuesday, Limnéll recalled the dispute over the principles of the rule of law, which was one of the country’s top priorities during its EU presidency in 2019. It also prompted Hungary to launch a smear campaign against Finland’s judicial system.

Limnéll suggests that Hungary could now feel like it is in a position to ask for something in return for its support on Finland’s possible NATO application.

The conclusion Limnéll reached is that Finland should send a NATO application simultaneously with Sweden, with whom Hungary does not have a political grievance.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said in a CNN interview on Sunday (3 April) that he expects all EU member states to welcome Finland in joining the alliance if it applies. Greece has denied rumours that it might attempt to block Finland’s membership.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö have also said they are unaware of any states resisting Finnish membership. “Turkey supports Finland’s aims,” Niinistö tweeted Monday (4 April) following his talks with Turkish President Erdogan.

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