The Swedes are already on pins and needles about their NATO accession, which is still an open question, pending ratification by Hungary and Turkey, reports Magyar Nemzet. Meanwhile, the focus of interest is more on Ukraine’s accession, which Hungary strongly opposes.
Recently, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited Sweden, and after talks with Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, told reporters that he had no doubt that Sweden would become a member of NATO before the Vilnius summit this summer. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg made a similar statement.
However, whether Sweden will actually join by July is still very much in doubt, given that its accession still has to be ratified by Hungary and Turkey.
It is no coincidence that Jens Stoltenberg will soon be traveling to Ankara, probably to discuss the issue with newly re-elected President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.
Turkey has previously attached conditions to Sweden’s accession, and Sweden has already taken concrete steps towards these, such as the entry into force of the new anti-terrorism law on June 1. However, the Turkish government has repeatedly indicated that this is not yet satisfactory. It remains to be seen what changes now that the campaign period ended in Turkey, whether relations between the two countries will change positively.
In addition, Hungary is in no hurry either to ratify Sweden’s request, mainly because Swedish-Hungarian relations are currently somewhat rocky as Stockholm has repeatedly criticized the Hungarian government’s decision, and has also joinied an international legal challenge against Budapest’s child protection legislation. As a result, Hungary has been reluctant to approve the country’s accession.
Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó remarked at a meeting of NATO foreign ministers in Oslo on Thursday that ratification would be an independent decision for parliament, and Hungary would not accept any pressure.
However, Sweden’s recent support for Hungary in the European Union is a cause for optimism in relations between the two countries.
Following talk in the European Parliament that it would take the rotating EU presidency away from Hungary in 2024, Sweden, which holds the presidency until June 30, said it did not intend to open a debate on the issue.
Meanwhile, the Swedes are very eager to join, if only because Finland, which applied at the same time as Sweden, has been a full member of NATO for almost two months now. Swedish daily Svenska Dagbladet recently published an opinion poll by Sifo, which showed that 67 percent of the population support NATO membership, compared to 39 percent in February last year, before the outbreak of the war.
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