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Hungarian Parliament Approves Sweden’s NATO Bid

Historic Decision Strengthens Euro-Atlantic Security.

In a historic move, Hungary’s parliament has given its overwhelming approval to a bill endorsing Sweden’s bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The decision, which comes after months of deliberation, marks a significant milestone in strengthening Euro-Atlantic security and fostering closer military cooperation between the two nations.

The vote, held on Monday during the first day of the spring session of the Hungarian Parliament, saw a resounding majority in favor of Sweden’s NATO accession. Out of the 199 members of parliament, 194 participated in the voting, with 188 votes in favor and only six against.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban hailed the decision as a crucial step towards enhancing Hungary’s security. “The Swedish-Hungarian military cooperation and Sweden’s NATO accession strengthen Hungary’s security,” remarked Prime Minister Orban ahead of the parliamentary vote, emphasizing the strategic importance of the partnership between the two countries.

Hungarian Parliament Approves Sweden's NATO Bid
Prime Minister Viktor Orban

However, not all members of parliament were in agreement with the decision. Elod Novak of the opposition party Our Homeland was among the six MPs who voted against the bill, urging his colleagues to veto Sweden’s NATO accession and cautioning against the risk of escalating conflicts.

With Hungary’s ratification, Sweden has now secured the approval of all 31 NATO member countries for its bid to join the military alliance, following previous endorsements from nations like Turkey. Sweden is set to formally become the 32nd member of NATO at the alliance’s next summit in Washington DC, scheduled for July.

While the bill still awaits the signature of Hungary’s newly elected President Tamas Sulyok to become law, the parliament’s ratification has been met with widespread approval from Swedish officials. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson hailed the decision as “a historic day,” expressing Sweden’s readiness to fulfill its responsibilities for Euro-Atlantic security.

Sweden’s application to join NATO, alongside Finland, was prompted by escalating tensions following the Ukrainian crisis in February 2022. However, Hungary’s endorsement of Sweden’s bid had faced delays due to internal debates within the ruling Fidesz party regarding Sweden’s criticisms of Hungary’s rule of law.

The resolution of this dispute came following a meeting between Prime Minister Orban and Prime Minister Kristersson in Budapest last Friday, where an agreement was reached for Hungary to purchase four new Gripen fighter jets from Sweden. This diplomatic breakthrough paved the way for Hungary’s parliament to finally approve Sweden’s NATO accession, reaffirming the enduring partnership between the two nations.

As Sweden prepares to embark on its journey as a NATO member, the decision underscores the alliance’s commitment to collective security and defense cooperation in an increasingly complex geopolitical landscape. With Hungary’s support, Sweden’s integration into NATO heralds a new chapter in Euro-Atlantic relations, marked by strengthened solidarity and mutual defense capabilities.

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