Hungarian-Swedish relations must improve before vote on NATO membership

By Dénes Albert
2 Min Read

Relations between Hungary and Sweden must be improved before Hungary approves the Nordic country’s application for NATO membership, Prime Minister Viktor Orbán said at the Qatar Economic Forum.

In a long interview with John Micklethwait, editor-in-chief of Bloomberg News, the Hungarian prime minister pointed out that the political relationship between Sweden and Hungary is “terribly bad” and must be improved first because he does not want to import conflicts into NATO.

Sweden and its neighbor Finland applied to join the military alliance last year after Russia invaded Ukraine. After months of delay, the Hungarian parliament approved Finland’s NATO membership with an overwhelming majority at the end of March

However, Sweden’s application was blocked by Turkey and Hungary, and Orbán cited grievances over Swedish criticism of Hungarian democracy and the rule of law.

The Hungarian state minister for international communications, Zoltán Kovács, said earlier that “Sweden is constantly undermining (international) relations,” its “throne of moral superiority is crumbling,” and the country has shown a lack of “care and respect” towards Hungary.

He added that “as the war in Ukraine ravages, the ongoing strife is punching holes in Europe’s former security fabric.”

No date has yet been set for when the Hungarian parliament will vote on Sweden’s application for membership, which must be ratified by all 30 member states.

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