Hungarian parliament approves Sweden's NATO bid, last member of alliance needed to give green light

Tue, 27 Feb 2024 8:03 GMT
Pivotal vote sealing Sweden's entry into NATO comes nearly 2 years after Stockholm applied to join military alliance.
Hungarian parliament approves Sweden's NATO bid, last member of alliance needed to give green light

Hungary’s parliament on Monday approved Sweden's NATO membership, essentially sealing the deal, as it was the last member of the alliance that had not yet given the green light.

The vote took place in the capital Budapest following last week’s meeting between Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban and his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson.

The vote of 188-6 was not close.

With the approval of Hungary, the Swedish administration has gotten the approval of all 31 NATO member states, which is needed for any new members.

On X, Kristersson said after the vote: "Today is a historic day. The parliaments of all NATO member states have now voted in favour of Swedish accession to NATO. Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security."

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed the Hungarian parliament’s vote.

"Now that all Allies have approved, Sweden will become the 32nd NATO Ally. Sweden’s membership will make us all stronger and safer," said Stoltenberg.

Kristersson last Friday announced that Sweden and Hungary had signed a bilateral agreement to continue cooperation on the Swedish-made JAS 39 Gripen war jets, which Hungary leased in 2006.

The two leaders agreed that the leasing of the 14 jets will be extended for another decade beginning in 2026, with Hungary purchasing four more from Sweden.

Kristersson said the agreement would strengthen European security and benefit both countries.

He also praised Hungary for its contribution to NATO's Air Policing operation in the Baltic Sea, near Sweden.

Sought membership after start of Ukraine war

Last week, Hungary's ruling Fidesz party proposed voting on Sweden's NATO membership bid on Monday.

Hungary remained the only NATO member that had yet to approve Sweden's membership after Türkiye’s parliament last month approved its application.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership in May 2022 following the start of Russia's war on Ukraine that February.

Finland joined the alliance as its 31st member last April.

The move has long been opposed by Russia, which says it started the Ukraine war in part to avoid any expansion of NATO, but the effect seems to have been the opposite.

Ukraine has also expressed its wish to join NATO, but that only seems possible after the war there ends, and perhaps not even then.


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