‘Hungary supports the Nato membership of Sweden’

A delegation of Hungarian parliamentarians met senior Swedish politicians on Tuesday to discuss Sweden's Nato application.

'Hungary supports the Nato membership of Sweden'
Hungary's deputy parliamentary speaker Csaba Hende addressing reporters outside the Swedish parliament. Photo: Caisa Rasmussen/TT

Hungary and Turkey are the only two Nato countries that have yet to ratify Sweden’s and Finland’s membership bids.

Budapest is expected to vote in favour of both countries joining the alliance “in the coming weeks”, the deputy speaker of the Hungarian parliament Csaba Hende told reporters in Stockholm.

“We started the debate last week and normally when everything goes well, in a couple of weeks time such a debate is over”, said Hende, who is a member of Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s Fidesz party.

Hungary’s repeated ratification delays have raised concerns in Sweden and Finland, whose bids are already being held back by Turkey.


According to the Hungarian parliament’s website, the vote was initially due to take place between March 6th and 9th but has now been pushed back to March 20th at the earliest.

Hende and other Hungarian MPs on Tuesday met with the Swedish speaker of parliament for a “courtesy visit”.

“It was warm, friendly, forward-looking, and carried with it the hope of a new beginning”, Hende said.

“We made it clear that the Hungarian government, the Hungarian president, and the vast majority of MPs unanimously support the Nato membership of Sweden,” he said.

But he noted it was “necessary” to improve bilateral relations between Stockholm and Budapest.

Sweden also needed to show Hungary “more respect”, he said, accusing Sweden of spreading “lies”.

“It would be good if in the future, Swedish politicians, members of government, MPs and MEPs would avoid portraying Hungary in a false light by alluding to an absence of rule of law that is based on clearly untrue facts”, he said.

Sweden is concerned that Hungary could use its Nato bid as leverage in its battles with the European Union.

In December, Brussels froze billions of euros worth of funds pending anti-corruption reforms expected from Budapest.

The Hungarian government has also, unlike the rest of Europe, trod an ambiguous path on the war in Ukraine and has refused to criticise Russian President Vladimir Putin by name.

Member comments

  1. Hungary need to quickly decide whose side they are on. The civilised world, NATO and the EU or friends with a terrorist state which will only mean Hungary becomes isolated to the rest of the civilised world which they can’t afford to do anyway.

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Swedish foreign minister disappointed by Turkey not acting on Nato bid

Sweden's Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom on Friday said he regretted Turkey's decision to hold off moving forward on his country's Nato bid, while pushing ahead with that of Finland.

Swedish foreign minister disappointed by Turkey not acting on Nato bid

“This is a development that we did not want, but that we were prepared for,” Billstrom told journalists, adding that the country’s priority was now securing ratifications from the two holdouts – Turkey and Hungary.

Following months of delays, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan announced Friday that he was asking parliament to vote on Finland’s bid to join the Nato defence bloc.

However, he said he was still not ready to move forward on Sweden, which submitted its bid together with Finland in May of last year.

In another setback for Sweden, Hungary announced Friday that it would vote on Finland’s ratification on March 27, but Sweden’s bid would be decided on “later”.

READ ALSO: Erdoğan asks parliament to vote on Finland’s Nato bid alone

Billstrom declined to comment on the news from Hungary, saying he had no confirmation from Budapest.

The Nordic neighbours ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join the US-led defence alliance following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their applications were accepted at a June Nato summit, but the bids still needed to be ratified by all 30 of the alliance members’ parliaments – a process that ran into trouble when it came to Turkey and Hungary.

Erdogan has accused Sweden in particular of not honouring the terms of a separate deal they reached in June 2022, under which Turkey had agreed to approve the bids.

READ ALSO: ‘Increased chance that Finland joins NATO before Sweden’: PM

Turkey has sought the extradition of dozens of Kurdish and other suspects it accuses of ties to outlawed militants and a failed 2016 coup attempt.

On Friday, the Turkish head of state said Sweden had still not agreed to extradite a list of some 120 people wanted by Ankara.

In Stockholm, Billstrom insisted that Sweden was living up to its commitments under the deal.

“We are doing everything that is written in this memorandum, but we do not do less and we do not do more than what is written in it,” he said.

READ ALSO: KEY DATES: The milestones ahead for Sweden’s Nato membership  

“This means that when extradition cases arise that are related to this memorandum, there will be decisions that can be positive and that can be negative from Turkey’s point of view and that is how it will simply be,” he added.