Hungary Set to Ratify Sweden's NATO Membership on February 26

EU | February 20, 2024, Tuesday // 11:25|  views

Hungary's ruling Fidesz party has announced its intention to approve Sweden's NATO membership, marking a significant step in Stockholm's bid to join the defense alliance. The decision, reported by Reuters and the Financial Times, comes after Hungary's long-awaited endorsement, resolving a diplomatic standoff that delayed Sweden's accession to NATO.

In a letter addressed to the Speaker of the Parliament, Mate Kocsis, leader of the parliamentary group on FIDESZ, formally requested a final vote on Sweden's NATO membership during the spring session of Parliament on February 26. The move signals Hungary's support for Sweden's inclusion as the 32nd member of the alliance.

Sweden's application to join NATO, initiated nearly two years ago in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, represents a historic policy shift for the Scandinavian nation. Despite initial delays and diplomatic tensions, Hungary's approval underscores a growing consensus within NATO regarding Sweden's membership.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán hinted at the impending ratification during a recent address to supporters, expressing optimism that the dispute with Sweden would soon be resolved. The decision holds implications for broader economic and defense cooperation between Hungary and Sweden, with Foreign Minister Peter Szijjártó suggesting discussions on deepening ties may occur during a potential visit by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest.

The news of Hungary's parliamentary vote was welcomed by Swedish Defense Minister Pal Jonson, who emphasized Sweden's commitment to enhancing security cooperation within NATO. Reuters notes Hungary's existing military collaboration with Sweden, including the leasing of Gripen fighters manufactured by SAAB.

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Tags: Hungary, Sweden, NATO, membership


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