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Turkey opposes Finland and Sweden's NATO bids – Erdogan
Delegations from these countries should not bother asking Ankara to approve their applications, president says
Turkey will not say “yes” to Finland and Sweden’s NATO membership bids, the country’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Monday, adding that any attempts to persuade Ankara to change its position would be fruitless.

Both governments officially announced their intention to join the US-led military bloc this weekend. Turkey had previously warned that it might oppose the move, with Erdogan calling the two Nordic countries “guesthouses for terrorist organizations.” He was referring to the separatist Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Revolutionary People’s Liberation Front (DHKP/C), which have been outlawed by Ankara.

Hungary’s PM accuses EU of power abuse
Victor Orban pledged to steer his country away from the “suicidal waves” of the West
Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban in a speech to lawmakers has accused Brussels of power abuse and has also pledged to resist the EU’s agenda of “gender madness and a liberal Europe.”

On Monday, Orban took his oath of office after being elected in April for a fourth consecutive term. In his usual manner, the premier did not spare harsh statements when addressing parliament.

“Brussels is abusing its power every day, and it wants to force on us things we don’t want,” the prime minister said.

In Orban’s opinion, the EU leadership is seeking to reduce the sovereignty of member states and to build “the United States of Europe.”

“Cultural alienation is growing between western and eastern Europe,” Orban claimed.

However, he argued that it’s in Hungary’s interests to remain in the European Union, as long as it can remain “an independent and free country.”

“We are not members of the European Union because it is as it is, but as it could be,” he explained.

Predicting that the current decade would be an “age of danger,” full of insecurity, with wars, epidemics and increased immigration potentially laying ahead, Orban pledged to resist any attempts by the West to engage Hungary in what he called “suicide waves.”
“The picture of the decade of war ahead of us also includes the suicide waves of the Western world,” Orban said. As examples of such “suicide waves” he cited a replenishment of the insufficient number of Christian babies through the influx of migrants, as well as the “agenda of gender madness and a liberal Europe.”

“In this situation, the route for Hungary must be set,” the prime minister said, before expressing certainty that his compatriots will be able to resist attacks on their national identity and traditions, as these are “carved out of hardwood.”

Austria makes pledge on neutral status
Vienna has no plans to change its non-aligned status, the country’s foreign minister has said
Austria is not a NATO member and has no plans to become one in the near future, the nation’s foreign minister, Alexander Schallenberg, told journalists in Brussels on Monday. When asked about his stance on Swedish and Finnish aspirations to join the military bloc, Schallenberg said he “fully respects” the decisions taken by Helsinki and Stockholm but added that it “is their decision and not ours.”

“Austria will continue to be a neutral country,” he said. However, he described the move taken by Sweden and Finland as a “strong signal” to Russian President Vladimir Putin, indicating that Moscow’s policies are flawed.

“[Putin] made NATO more relevant and [what] he achieved was [forcing] two countries to join NATO,” the Austrian minister said, adding that the Russian president’s security strategy “has blown [up] in his face.”

Stockholm and Helsinki officially announced their bids to join the military bloc on Sunday. Moscow has repeatedly warned that it would have to respond if Finland and Sweden join NATO. Russia has said it considers NATO expansion to be a direct threat to its own security.

Serbia will 'fight' sanctions pressure – Vucic
Belgrade will stick to its policy of not imposing restrictions on Moscow, Aleksandar Vucic vows
Despite suffering “enormous damage,” Serbia will fight to maintain its policy of not joining the Western sanctions introduced against Moscow over the conflict in Ukraine, its president has insisted.

“We've lasted eighty days” without restricting Russia and "the price we pay is huge," Alexander Vucic told local broadcaster Prva on Sunday. Serbia lacks access to the capital market and can't service its foreign loans, which affects the well-being of the population, he complained.

"They say: 'Vucic is announcing the introduction of Russian sanctions.' No, we will fight as long as we can. We suffered enormous damage, but we aren't looking for 'a thank you'," the president insisted.
Serbia is acting this way because it is "a sovereign and independent country" that is well aware of "how unfair and unnecessary" the sanctions are, he said.

The issue of restrictions against Moscow is also closely linked to the supply of Russian gas and oil, on which Serbia is entirely dependent, Vucic said, expressing hope that Belgrade will be able to agree a "good price" on energy at the upcoming talks between the sides.

Last month, the Serbian president claimed that he was blackmailed into placing restrictions on his country's ally Russia, with Belgrade being threatened with energy sanctions of its own if it refused.
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