Hungary’s parliament set to ratify Sweden’s NATO accession

The Hungarian parliament will vote on Monday to ratify Sweden’s application to join NATO. This would likely end the 18-month delay that has frustrated the alliance’s expansion in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

The government of Hungary submitted protocols to approve Sweden’s entry into NATO in 2022. However, the issue has been stalled by opposition from lawmakers in the ruling party. To admit a new country, all NATO members must agree unanimously. Hungary is the lone member of the 31-member alliance that hasn’t given its support.

Viktor Orban is a right-wing Nationalist with close ties to Russia. He has stated that criticisms of Hungary’s democratic system by Swedish politicians have soured the relations between Sweden and Hungary, leading to a reluctance on the part of lawmakers from his Fidesz Party.

The vote on Monday will likely approve Sweden’s NATO membership, which is the last hurdle to overcome after the country first applied for the alliance in 2022.

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Ulf Kristersson met with Orban in the capital of Hungary on Friday, and they seemed to have reached a definitive reconciliation. After their meeting, the two announced that they had reached an agreement in the defense industry. This included the purchase by Hungary of four Swedish JAS 39 Gripen aircraft and the extension to the service contract of its existing Gripen Fleet.

Orban stated that the additional fighter aircraft “will significantly enhance our military capability and further strengthen our roles abroad” as well as improve Hungary’s capacity to participate in NATO joint operations.

Orban stated that “to be members of NATO with another country, we must be ready to die together.” “A deal about defense and military capabilities helps to rebuild trust between the countries.”

The Hungarian Parliament is busy with a number of issues, including the vote on Sweden joining NATO on Monday. The Hungarian parliament will also vote on accepting President Katalin’s resignation, who quit earlier this month after a scandal erupted over her decision pardoning a man found guilty of covering up child sexual abuse.

The lawmakers will confirm Tamas Sulyok as the new president after accepting Novak’s resignation. Sulyok is the president of the Constitutional Court in Hungary.

Several opposition parties have stated that they will not vote for a new President. Sulyok, however, was nominated for the presidency by Orban’s Fidesz Party. This party has a majority of two thirds in parliament.

The approval of Sweden’s NATO membership requires a presidential signature, but the date at which this final endorsement will take place is not yet known.

In recent months, Hungary’s NATO and European Union allies have increased pressure on the country to abandon its opposition to Sweden joining. A bipartisan group from the United States visited Hungary last weekend and announced that they would be submitting a joint congressional resolution condemning Hungary for its alleged democratic backsliding, and urging Orban’s government to lift their block against Sweden’s transatlantic integration.