Hungary’s parliament set to decide on Sweden’s NATO bid on Monday

Hungary is the only one of the 31 NATO member states that had not yet ratified Sweden’s accession.

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After a long delay, Hungary’s parliament is expected to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO next Monday.

The leader of the ruling Fidesz party, Máté Kocsis, requested the speaker of parliament to  put the issue on the agenda for the plenary session on Feb. 26.

Kocsis posted a copy of the request on his Facebook page on Tuesday.

Committees in parliament have already approved the ratification.

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Now, all that is missing is the assent of the full assembly.

The Swedish government immediately embraced the news.

“Of course we welcome this,’’  Swedish Defence Minister, Pål Jonson said on at a news conference.

Budapest had given various reasons for the delay.

Recently, the right-wing populist government of Fidesz politicians said they felt “insulted’’ by criticism from Sweden about the state of the rule of law in Hungary.

Fidesz representatives had made a visit by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest a condition for ratification.

It was unclear whether such a visit would take place soon but pro-government media in Hungary reported that preparations were under way.

Kristersson had stated that a date was being sought.

Pro-government media had reported, without citing any sources that Hungary was to receive four Gripen fighter jets from Sweden.

No details of this allegedly planned transaction were given.

Hungary had been aiming to purchase them since 2022.

The country already had 14 military aircraft of this type from Sweden under a lease agreement that expires in 2026.

Hungary would then take ownership of the aircraft.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said on Saturday in his state of the nation speech that Sweden had undertaken measures that could lead to an agreement for it to join NATO.

He had not made any public statements about the alleged weapons deal.

Hungary is the only one of the 31 NATO member states that had not yet ratified Sweden’s accession.

All members must sign-off on applications before a new country is admitted.

In light of the Russian war against Ukraine, Sweden applied for NATO membership together with Finland in May 2022.

Finland was welcomed as the 31st member of the alliance at the beginning of April last year.