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    Hungary's parliament wants to vote on Sweden's accession to NATO


    After long delays and insulted reactions to criticism from Sweden, Hungary is likely to soon approve the Scandinavians' accession to NATO. Orban receives the hoped-for visit from Stockholm in advance.

    After a long delay, Hungary's parliament is expected to approve Sweden's NATO membership on Monday. The leader of the ruling Fidesz party, Mate Kocsis, requested that the issue be added to the agenda of the plenary session on February 26th. He shared a photo of the corresponding request to the President of Parliament on his Facebook page on Tuesday. In it, Kocsis also wrote that Fidesz supported the ratification. Hungary would be the last of the 31 NATO states to ratify Sweden's accession. The government in Sweden immediately welcomed this news and announced a visit by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest.

    Committees in the Hungarian Parliament have already approved the ratification of the accession protocol, but the approval of the plenary session is still missing. Fidesz delayed this final step towards Sweden's inclusion in the Western defense alliance out of anger over criticism from Swedish politicians about the rule of law in Hungary.

    “We of course welcome this,” Swedish Defense Minister Pål Jonson said at a press conference on Tuesday when asked about the news from Hungary. Shortly afterwards, the government in Stockholm announced that Kristersson would travel to Budapest at the invitation of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban – this Friday and therefore before the hoped-for approval of Parliament.

    Sweden's accession to NATO has been delayed for a long time

    The agenda for the meeting with Orban will include security and defense policy cooperation between Hungary and Sweden, preparations for the upcoming Hungarian EU Council Presidency and the EU's strategic agenda, the government in Stockholm said. There will be a joint press conference afterwards. Orban said on the online platform X that it would be a pleasure to welcome Kristersson to Budapest.

    Most recently, Fidesz representatives made Kristersson's visit to Budapest a condition for ratification. Orban had invited him to the Hungarian capital in January, although it was unclear what his specific purpose was. The Swede had shown himself open to such a trip, but indicated that he actually thought a visit after NATO ratification would make more sense. He ruled out negotiations about accession.

    Orban said in his state of the nation speech on Saturday that Sweden had taken steps that could lead to an agreement with a view to the Nordic EU partner joining NATO. Orban did not say what steps those were supposed to have taken. Government-affiliated media then reported without citing sources that Hungary was to receive four Gripen fighter planes from Sweden. No details were given about this supposedly planned operation. Hungary has been aiming to purchase them since 2022. The country already has 14 military aircraft of this type from Sweden on a leasing contract that expires in 2026. The machines then come into the possession of Hungary.

    In addition to Hungary, Turkey had also long delayed the ratification of Sweden's accession to NATO. The green light for this from parliament in Ankara was only given at the end of January. Orban recently denied that there had been an agreement with Turkey on this matter – after other leading Fidesz politicians had confirmed that they were in discussions with Ankara about this.

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