Hungary votes through Sweden's Nato application

AFP/The Local
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Hungary votes through Sweden's Nato application
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban addresses parliament on Monday. Photo: AP Photo/Denes Erdos

Hungary's parliament on Monday afternoon voted through Sweden's Nato application, clearing the final hurdle before the Nordic country can join the military alliance.


With 188 votes in favour and six against, Hungary became the final country to approve Sweden's Nato application.

"A historic day," Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote on X. "The parliaments of all Nato countries have now voted in favour of Sweden's Nato membership. We stand ready to shoulder our part of the responsibility for Nato's security."

The vote came after almost two years of delays that upset Western efforts to show resolve in the face of Russia's war on Ukraine.

Russia's February 2022 invasion prompted Sweden to apply to join the bloc in May 2022, alongside neighbouring Finland, ending a long-standing stance of non-alignment.

Finland became the 31st member of the US-led defence alliance in April 2023.

Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orbán's nationalist Fidesz party – whose ruling coalition with the Christian Democratic KDNP holds a two-thirds majority in parliament – had already indicated it would support Sweden's bid.

All opposition parties except the far-right Our Homeland movement were in favour of ratification.


After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, most Nato members were keen to quickly approve the membership bids of both Finland and Sweden.

Hungary and the other holdout Turkey held up the process, especially for Sweden, but Turkey eventually approved Sweden's bid last month.

But while Hungary repeatedly said it supported Swedish membership in principle, it kept prolonging the process by asking Sweden to stop "vilifying" the Hungarian government. Budapest also accused Swedish officials of being "keen to bash Hungary" on rule-of-law issues.

After a meeting on Friday between Orbán and his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson in Budapest, the nationalist leader announced progress.

"We have managed to clarify our mutual good intentions," Orbán told journalists after signing a deal to acquire four Swedish-made fighter jets, expanding its existing fleet of 14 Jas-39 Gripen fighters.

Now that the parliament has approved Sweden's membership, the final decision needs to be made by Hungary’s interim president, currently László Kövér, who has five days to sign the approval and then send it to the US state department in Washington.

"It's going to happen quickly," Zsolt Németh, an MP för the ruling Fidesz party told TT.

Sweden will then be invited to accede to the Washington Treaty and officially become a Nato member.

In the case of Finland, for example, Turkey gave the green light on March 30th, 2023, and Finland became a Nato member on April 4th.


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