After signals from Hungary, Sweden is “less certain” that it will be a member of NATO by July, said Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström on Thursday.
Last week, the Swedish diplomatic chief said he was confident that his country would be a member of the North Atlantic alliance by July, the same month the NATO summit in Vilnius is scheduled.
But he told the Swedish news agency TT on Thursday: “I have taken note of what has been said in recent days, especially from Hungary’s side (…) I think the word ‘hopeful’ is more appropriate in the current context.”
Sweden submitted its application to join NATO along with its neighbor Finland in May last year. To become members of the organization, all 30 NATO member states must accept and ratify its enlargement.
The Hungarian parliament approved Finland’s application to join NATO on Monday after months of delay, leaving just Turkey in the way of the Scandinavian country’s bid to join the defense alliance. Turkey announced its approval on Friday.
Hungarian lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in support of the motion, with 182 in favor and six against, paving the way for Finland to become the 31st NATO member.
After the approval of Finland’s NATO membership with an overwhelming majority, Hungarian State Secretary for International Communications Zoltán Kovács provided three reasons why the same did not happen for Sweden.
Kovács wrote 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” toward Hungary.