NATO vote Hungary decides whether Sweden will join

NATO vote: Hungary decides whether Sweden will join

It was said that Sweden must ensure that trust is restored. For this reason, Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson also visited Budapest on Friday, accepting an invitation from Orban, which top FIDESZ politicians, among others, set as a condition for approving Sweden's membership in NATO.

The visit was also requested on the grounds that he also visited Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan to put an end to Turkey's blockade of his country's accession to NATO. As is known, Turkey gave the green light to Sweden's accession at the end of January.

Chart about NATO members, candidate countries and candidates for membership

Graphics: APA/ORF; Source: APA

In response to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine, traditionally non-aligned Sweden applied to join NATO together with its neighboring country Finland in May 2022. Finland was able to join the military alliance in April 2023, while Sweden had to wait due to the blockade of Turkey and Hungary.

Joint Arms Agreement

During Kristersson's visit, two agreements to modify the Gripen fighter contract were signed at a joint press conference. This involves acquiring new combat aircraft and providing logistics systems and support services.

Orban announced the creation of his own air defense, for which Swedish help would be needed. This will be achieved through the purchase of four new fighters, which will expand the Gripen fleet to 14 aircraft. When the leasing contract expires in 2026, the previously leased aircraft would pass into Hungarian hands.

Both praise cooperation

Orbán also stressed the importance of building trust between Hungary and Sweden and promised that the Hungarian parliament would ratify Sweden's NATO membership on Monday. He also praised the positive trade cooperation between the two countries. Compared to 2010, turnover would have doubled.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban

Portal/Bernadett Szabo During his visit, Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson also concluded a new arms deal with Hungary

At the press conference, Kristersson also highlighted the importance of cooperation between the two countries. The meeting also discussed the European Union's “strategic agenda” and cooperation between the two countries on security and defense issues. Kristersson also recalled operational issues where he sees advantages in cooperation to protect Baltic airspace.

Orbán: FIDESZ changed its mind

Orbán said on Hungarian radio on Friday morning that the FIDESZ faction relented because he changed his mind regarding the prospect of military cooperation with Sweden. The “trust-building process” with Sweden will now be completed, Orbán said.

Regarding the “insults” from Sweden that FIDESZ has complained about so far, Orban said: “Sweden regulates its life according to different values ​​than Hungary, and both sides have to accept that we are not equal.” Swedish visit as a “grand gesture” Prime Minister in Hungary. At the same time, it is claimed that Sweden ended up giving in to Orban's “blackmail” in the interest of ratifying its membership of NATO.

Decision on the new head of state

On internal matters, the Hungarian parliament will also decide on a new head of state on Monday. The President of the Hungarian Constitutional Court, Tamas Sulyok, was nominated as a FIDESZ candidate.

The 67-year-old is expected to succeed ousted president Katalin Novak. This pardoned a man who had been convicted of aiding and abetting the sexual abuse of minors. After the case caused widespread outrage, Novak was forced to resign.