Hungary set to approve Sweden’s NATO bid on Feb 26 after long delay

Hungary’s ruling Fidesz party has proposed that parliament should vote to ratify Sweden’s bid to join NATO on Feb. 26, a move that it would support.

“Our group wishes to support” Sweden’s NATO bid, the Fidesz party said in a document, asking the Speaker of parliament to include the vote in its agenda next Monday. Fidesz has a huge majority in parliament.

Sweden applied to join NATO nearly two years ago, in a historic shift in policy prompted by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

After a prolonged delay, Hungary will be the last NATO member to approve the Nordic country’s bid to become the bloc’s 32nd member.

Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson welcomed news of Hungary’s plans to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban had signalled on Saturday that parliament could soon ratify the Swedish bid when it convenes for its new spring session.

“It’s good news that our dispute with Sweden will soon be settled,” Orban told supporters, without providing details.

Hungary could discuss deepening economic and defence cooperation with Sweden if the latter’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson were to visit Budapest, Foreign Minister Peter Szijjarto.

Hungary leases Gripen fighter aircraft made by Sweden’s SAAB (SAABb.ST) under a contract signed in 2001.