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Swedish Prime Minister’s Planned Visit Gives Green Light to NATO Accession

MTI-Hungary Today 2024.02.20.

The will on the Hungarian side to finalize Sweden’s accession to NATO seems “strong,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said in Warsaw on Monday, indicating that he is preparing to visit Budapest.

“I will go to Budapest, the date will be announced after it is confirmed,” Kristersson added in response to a journalist’s question on Sweden’s NATO membership at a press conference with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk. He noted that he “had several meetings” with the Hungarian prime minister in recent weeks.

“It seems to me that the will to finalize Sweden’s NATO accession process is strong.

I am already looking forward to the planned meeting to finalize it,”

Kristersson emphasized.

Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson. Photo via Facebook/Ulf Kristersson

For months, the Swedish Foreign Minister has argued that there was “nothing to negotiate” about NATO membership, and that he was only waiting for the Hungarian Parliament to approve his country’s accession. Not only Tobias Bilström, but other representatives of the Swedish parliamentary parties and experts have also commented in the press that there was nothing to discuss with Hungary. The entire 20-month NATO accession process was characterized by this dismissive and sometimes patronizing communication.

In his annual assessment speech on Saturday, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán had suggested that the Swedish ratification of NATO could take place right at the beginning of the spring session of parliament.

At a briefing after the meeting of EU foreign ministers on Monday, the Hungarian Foreign Minister welcomed the news about the planned visit of Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson to Budapest. As Péter Szijjártó stressed, this could help with the ratification of NATO accession, but he said that the final date for this is still unknown.

For Hungary, this would be a signal that could help in the decision-making process, especially since the Swedish Prime Minister also traveled to Türkiye during the ratification process,

he pointed out. The minister praised the Hungarian-Swedish cooperation in the fields of economy and defense. Szijjártó emphasized that Swedish companies feel comfortable in Hungary and that the Hungarian Defense Forces are using Gripen fighter jets.

Furthermore, just this morning, news broke that the Fidesz parliamentary group supports the Nordic country’s accession to NATO, and is urging the Hungarian National Assembly to hold a final vote on the issue on February 26.

On Sunday, three U.S. senators visited the U.S. Embassy in Budapest, including the two Co-Chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen and Republican Thom Tillis, and Democrat Senator Chris Murphy. The politicians were positive that Hungary, as a part of the NATO family, will support Sweden’s accession.

However, the U.S. senators’ visit to Hungary had no bearing on the governing party’s decision.


Hungary had demonstrated a certain amount of hesitancy regarding the NATO accession of the two Nordic states because of a number of political disagreements between the countries. Both Finland and Sweden (in addition to several more countries) joined a legal case against Hungary’s Child Protection Law, labeling it anti-LGBT or even as an “anti-gay law.” Since then, Finland has been part of the North Atlantic alliance.

In addition, only recently, a video was made by Swedish public television with the aim of being shown in schools that depicts Hungary as an authoritarian state and human rights violator. The video, containing what some described as insulting and misleading accusations against Hungary, was commissioned by UR, the Swedish education portal, and has been approved for screening in schools.


Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson is expected to pay a visit to Budapest on February 23, at the invitation of Viktor Orbán,

Bertalan Havasi, the Prime Minister’s Press Chief, announced on Tuesday afternoon.

The meeting will focus on defense and security policy cooperation between Hungary and Sweden as well as preparations for Hungary’s EU Council Presidency, Bertalan Havasi noted. He added that Viktor Orbán and Ulf Kristersson will report on the outcome of the meeting at a press conference.

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Via MTI; Featured image via X/NATO

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