Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to meet Viktor Orban in Budapest

AFP/The Local
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Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to meet Viktor Orban in Budapest
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban. Photo: AP Photo/Denes Erdos

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson will meet Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban on Friday ahead of a key parliamentary vote in Budapest on Sweden's stalled bid to join Nato.


His talks with Orban in Budapest will include "defence and security policy cooperation between Hungary and Sweden", the Swedish government said on Tuesday.

Hungary, the last holdout on Sweden's application to join Nato, is set to vote whether to ratify the bid in parliament on Monday.

After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Sweden abandoned two centuries of military non-alignment and applied to join the US-led Western military alliance in May 2022, at the same time as Finland.

Finland became the 31st member of Nato in April 2023 but the Swedish bid was delayed by both Turkey and Hungary.

After more than a year of delays, Turkey ratified Sweden's bid in January.


Although it supports Stockholm in principle, Hungary has prolonged the process by asking Sweden to stop "vilifying" Prime Minister Viktor Orban's government, which critics accuse of authoritarianism.

It has often denounced what it called Sweden's "openly hostile attitude", accusing Swedish representatives of being "repeatedly keen to bash Hungary" on rule-of-law issues.

But Mate Kocsis, the leader of Orban's Fidesz party in parliament, said on Tuesday his group "intends to support" Sweden's Nato membership request when Hungarian lawmakers vote on it on Monday.

In January, Orban invited the Swedish prime minister to Hungary, citing the need to "build strong mutual trust" through "more intense political dialogue".

Kristersson accepted the invitation but rejected the idea of "negotiations" and "demands" concerning the country's bid to join Nato.


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