Home Europe Hungary Votes In Favour Of Sweden’s NATO Membership

Hungary Votes In Favour Of Sweden’s NATO Membership

On February 26, 2024, the Hungarian parliament accepted Sweden’s membership in NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization). The Nordic nation had applied for full membership in NATO in 2022. Hungary’s welcome decision ended a long wait of 19 months for the inclusion of Sweden into NATO following its security policy modifications. 188 lawmakers of the Hungarian parliament supported its membership in the defence alliance. Agnes Vadai, a lawmaker of the Democratic Coalition (DK) party, announced in parliament: “Finally, it is done; Sweden is the 32nd member of the alliance, and this way Nato has become stronger.”

Improved Hungary-Sweden Defence Ties:

On February 23, 2024, Mr. Ulf Kristersson, the Swedish Prime Minister, visited Budapest, the Hungarian capital, to establish improved defence ties with the host country. During this visit, Sweden announced the provision of four Swedish Gripen jets to Hungary. These new jets would be in addition to the 14 aircraft the Hungarian Air Force currently uses. Sweden further announced that Saab, the maker of these jets, would open an artificial intelligence research centre in Hungary. Responding warmly to these renewed defence ties, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban opened the Parliament to vote for Sweden’s NATO membership.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said, “Sweden is an outstanding country, but we are joining NATO to even better defend everything we are and everything we believe in.” He further announced that Sweden’s acceptance into NATO was a “big step” and a “historic day” for the country. Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced in a joint press conference, “We are ready to fight for each other, to give our lives for each other.” He added, “Today’s meeting is a milestone in a long process … This long process can also be called the process of rebuilding trust, and we can mark the end of this phase today.”

NATO membership:

NATO is a political and military alliance among several countries in Europe and North America to maintain peace and security in the member countries. It is a unique transatlantic link between these two continents that facilitates cooperation in the fields of defence and security by enabling multinational crisis-management operations. Currently, NATO comprises 31 member countries. They are Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, the Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Türkiye, United Kingdom, and the United States.

After Finland entered the above, Sweden’s membership was kept on hold as Turkey and Hungary had not yet voted for its inclusion in the defence alliance. With both countries having accepted the same, the last obstacle has been removed from the country’s path. After Sweden’s acceptance, Jen Stoltenberg, NATO’s general secretary, announced on X: “I welcome the Hungarian parliament’s vote to ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO. Now that all allies have been approved, Sweden will become the 32nd NATO ally. Sweden’s membership will make us all stronger and safer.”

A few formalities are yet to be completed for the official inclusion of Sweden into NATO. The Parliament’s approval has to be signed by the President. NATO will formally invite Sweden to join the 31-member transatlantic defence alliance. Its inclusion will considerably boost NATO’s military strength in the Baltic Sea as a step towards maintaining global peace and security.