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Hungarian parliament speaker signs off on Sweden's NATO bid

by Martin Fornusek and The Kyiv Independent news desk March 2, 2024 1:04 PM 2 min read
Hungary's parliament building in a photo on Dec. 13, 2021. (Ludovic Marin/AFP via Getty Images)
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Hungarian parliament acting speaker Sandor Lezsak has signed off on Sweden's accession to NATO after Hungary's legislature ratified it earlier this week, Reuters reported on March 2, citing the parliament's voting records.

The legislation will now go to the desk of Hungary's acting president, Laszlo Kover, for promulgation.

The Hungarian parliament voted to ratify Stockholm's entry into the alliance on Feb. 26, ending months of delay.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the alliance in 2022 after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine, but their accession was held up by objections from Turkey and Hungary.

Finland joined NATO in April 2023. After Turkey formally ratified Sweden's NATO membership on Jan. 25, Hungary remained the last member yet to approve Sweden's application.

The ratification of Sweden's membership bid came shortly after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban met his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson in Budapest.

At the Feb. 23 meeting, the two leaders vowed to overcome their differences and increase cooperation. They also signed a deal in which Sweden agreed to sell four Swedish JAS Gripen fighter jets to Hungary.

Hungary previously delayed ratifying Sweden's NATO accession in part due to the country's criticism of the deteriorating rule of law under Orban's tenure.

Sweden is set to become the 32nd member of NATO. Accepting a new country into the alliance requires unanimous support from all members.

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