Hungary president signs Sweden's NATO membership ratification

March 6, 2024 12:36 pm

[Source: Reuters]

Hungary’s President Tamas Sulyok has signed the bill that approved Sweden’s accession to the NATO military alliance.

The president’s office said, clearing the way for Sweden to become the 32nd member of the alliance in the coming days.

Stockholm abandoned its non-alignment policy for greater safety within the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

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The remaining formalities, such as depositing accession documentation in Washington, are likely to be concluded swiftly.

“It is tremendously important and hopefully we will now become members and it will not be a matter of weeks but a matter of days,” Swedish Defence Minister Pal Jonson told a news conference in Stockholm. “It will be good for Sweden and it will be good for NATO. It will be good for stability in the entire Euro-Atlantic area that Sweden can become a full-fledged member of NATO.”

Most NATO countries approved Sweden’s bid quickly after its application in May 2022 but Turkey and Hungary delayed the process, unhappy with Sweden’s perceived support for Kurdish separatists and criticism of the Hungarian government.

The accession of Finland last year and soon Sweden, which has not been at war since 1814, is the most significant expansion of NATO since it took in members from eastern Europe after the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.

The accession is a blow to President Vladimir Putin and Russia now faces an almost unbroken chain of NATO members to its west stretching from the Black Sea to the Arctic.

Hungarian lawmakers approved Sweden’s NATO bid on Feb. 26 after Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s government had faced pressure from NATO allies to fall in line and seal Sweden’s accession to the alliance.