Hungary pressured to approve Sweden's NATO membership
After reaching a consensus with the European Union on new aid for Ukraine, Hungary is now under increased pressure to ratify Sweden's application to join NATO. Prime Minister Viktor Orban, after weeks of holding out, agreed to a €50 billion EU deal at a summit in Brussels, highlighting Hungary's isolated position as the last EU member state—and the only NATO country—yet to endorse Sweden's NATO bid.
Orban, known for his closer ties to Russia compared to other EU and NATO members, has publicly supported Sweden's accession to the alliance. However, his government's delay has attracted international attention, with calls for Hungary to expedite the ratification process. Opposition lawmakers have scheduled an emergency parliamentary session to discuss Sweden's NATO membership, though Fidesz party members await a forthcoming meeting between Orban and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson before proceeding with the vote.
The delay has prompted senior U.S. lawmakers to urge Hungary to quickly approve Sweden's NATO membership, hinting at lasting damage to Budapest's relations with Washington should it fail to act. This situation follows Hungary's reluctance to provide military support to Ukraine amid the ongoing conflict with Russia and its contentious relationship with Kyiv over the treatment of ethnic Hungarians in western Ukraine.
Despite EU sanctions and withholding €20 billion in funds due to concerns over democracy under Orban's 13-year tenure, Hungary's agreement to the EU aid package for Ukraine marks a significant step. Yet, the focus now shifts to Hungary's stance on Sweden's NATO application, with implications for its diplomatic relations and position within the alliance.