Hungarian Parliament Approves Sweden’s NATO Membership, Clearing Final Hurdle

Hungarian Parliament Votes to Ratify Sweden’s NATO Membership, Ending 18-Month Delay

In a significant development, Hungary’s parliament voted on Monday to ratify Sweden’s bid to join NATO, finally resolving more than 18 months of delays that had impeded the alliance’s expansion efforts in response to Russia’s actions in Ukraine.

The vote, which saw 188 in favor and six against, represents the culmination of extensive efforts by Hungary’s allies to persuade its nationalist government to remove its blockade on Sweden’s NATO membership. Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government had initially submitted the protocols for approving Sweden’s entry into NATO in July 2022. However, progress had been hindered in parliament due to opposition from lawmakers belonging to the governing party.\

Former CIA Russia chief asserted that Putin’s conviction that the US would lose its resolve and cease supporting Ukraine is being vindicated.

All NATO Members Approve Sweden’s Membership, Hungary the Last to Back

The approval from Hungary’s parliament marks the final step in Sweden’s NATO accession process, with all 31 alliance members now officially supporting its membership. Hungary’s endorsement follows Turkiye’s ratification of Sweden’s request last month, solidifying unanimous support among NATO nations.

Prime Minister Viktor Orban, known for his right-wing populist stance and close ties with Russia, previously cited criticism of Hungary’s democracy by Swedish politicians as a source of tension between the two countries. This tension had led to hesitation among lawmakers in Orban’s Fidesz party regarding Sweden’s NATO bid.

However, with Monday’s vote, the last obstacle to Sweden’s membership has been overcome. Sweden, along with its neighbor Finland, initially applied for NATO membership in May 2022.

Ahead of the vote, Orban emphasized the importance of Sweden’s NATO accession, highlighting the bolstering of Hungary’s security through enhanced military cooperation. Orban also criticized Hungary’s European Union and NATO allies for increasing pressure on his government in recent months to support Sweden’s entry into the alliance.

Orban emphasized that external attempts to meddle in Hungary’s disputes with Sweden only complicated matters rather than resolving them. He reiterated Hungary’s sovereignty, stating that the country does not tolerate external interference in its decision-making processes or their timing.

Recently, a bipartisan group of US senators visited Hungary and announced their intention to submit a joint resolution to Congress condemning what they perceive as Hungary’s democratic decline. They urged Orban’s government to lift its blockade on Sweden’s trans-Atlantic integration promptly.

However, a significant turn of events occurred last Friday when Ulf Kristersson, the Prime Minister of Sweden, met with Orban in Hungary’s capital. Their meeting seemed to signal a definitive reconciliation after months of diplomatic tensions.

Following their discussions, the leaders unveiled a defense industry agreement. This agreement includes Hungary’s acquisition of four Swedish-made JAS 39 Gripen jets and an extension of the service contract for its existing Gripen fleet.

Orbán highlighted that the additional fighter jets would significantly enhance Hungary’s military capabilities and further solidify its role on the international stage. He emphasized that these jets would also enhance Hungary’s ability to actively participate in joint NATO operations.

“Being NATO members alongside another country signifies our readiness to stand together, even in the face of adversity,” Orbán stated. “An agreement on defense and military capacities plays a crucial role in rebuilding trust between our nations.”

In addition to the vote on Sweden’s NATO accession, Hungarian lawmakers tackled a packed agenda in parliament on Monday. They also voted on accepting the resignation of President Katalin Novák, who stepped down earlier this month amidst a scandal involving her decision to pardon a man convicted of concealing a series of child sexual abuses.

Following the acceptance of Novák’s resignation, lawmakers are expected to confirm Tamás Sulyok, the current president of Hungary’s Constitutional Court, as the new president of the country. Sulyok is slated to formally assume office on March 5th.

Certain opposition parties have declared their refusal to partake in the confirmation vote for a new president, advocating instead for direct presidential elections. However, as Sulyok was nominated by Orban’s Fidesz party, which holds a two-thirds majority in parliament, his presidency is anticipated to be easily approved.

The formal endorsement of Sweden’s NATO bid necessitates a presidential signature, which is anticipated to be secured within the coming days.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button