Hungary Approves Sweden’s Bid to Join NATO After Months of Delay

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Hungary Approves Sweden's Bid to Join NATO After Months of Delay

Hungary’s parliament finally greenlighted Sweden’s application to join NATO on Monday, ending months of delays and diplomatic tension. The vote, passing 188-6, removes the last major obstacle for Sweden’s official membership in the military alliance.

Sweden, along with Finland, applied for NATO membership in May 2022, prompted by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. While Finland cleared the process earlier this year, Sweden faced objections from Turkey and Hungary.

Turkey’s concerns centered around Sweden’s perceived support for Kurdish separatists and restrictions on arms exports to Turkey. Hungary, under the leadership of right-wing Prime Minister Viktor Orbán, cited strained relations with Sweden, partly due to criticism from Swedish politicians regarding Hungary’s democratic practices, as a reason for the delay.

Russia, a long-time opponent of NATO expansion, has threatened to react if the alliance establishes military infrastructure in either Finland or Sweden. The move holds particular weight considering Russia shares a lengthy border with Finland.

Despite external pressure, Orbán remarked, “Several people tried to intervene…but this did not help…Hungary is a sovereign country and does not tolerate being dictated to by others.”

With this crucial vote, Sweden inches closer to becoming NATO’s 32nd member, bolstering the alliance’s strength amid heightened European security concerns.


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