Hungary Approves Sweden’s Ascension to NATO

A Long Time Coming

The Hungarian parliament today voted in an overwhelming majority to approve Sweden’s bid to join NATO. The Hungarian approval was the last barrier facing the Nordic countries ascension into NATO, which can finally take place after it first began processes two years ago. Sweden will join NATO as it’s 32nd member.

Sweden’s bid to join NATO began shortly after Russia invaded Ukraine. While Sweden and Finland, who became an official member in April of 2023, began their membership bids at the same time, Sweden’s faced significantly more delays pending the approval of Turkey and Hungary.

Turkey had initially barred the two nations due to their relationships with Kurdish groups and individuals, some of which Turkey views as terrorist groups. A series of negotiations took place between Turkey and the two northern European countries, in which they rectified the differences. Turkey approved Sweden’s ascension into NATO last month in January, which left Hungary as the only remaining hurdle.

Hungary had signalled long ago that they wanted to bring both Sweden and Finland into NATO, however had been delaying it due to Hungarian demands for “respect” from the two nations due to their consistent and staunch criticism of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his nationalistic policies. The EU has also been critical of some of these policies.

Diplomatic differences were slowly solved through a series of meetings, which appear to have finally been solved with the visit of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on February 23rd. PM Orban described the meeting as the ending of “a long process to rebuild trust”.

In addition to the approval of Sweden’s ascension, Hungary has also in recent days announced the purchase of four Swedish JAS-39 Gripen fighter jets, highlighting the newfound cooperation between the two nations that are soon to be military allies.

Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray
Sébastien Gray is a published journalist and historicist with over 5 years experience in writing. His primary focus is on East and West African affairs.

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