Hungary’s approval for Sweden’s NATO bid uncertain, signalling potential delays

Laszlo Kover

18th September 2023 – (Budapest) In a recent interview with local television, Hungary’s parliament speaker, Laszlo Kover, cast doubt on the country’s need to approve Sweden’s bid to join NATO, raising concerns about potential delays in the process.

Since July 2022, Hungary’s approval has been stalled in parliament due to apprehensions over criticism from Swedish politicians regarding Hungary’s democratic backsliding.

Kover, a prominent lawmaker from the ruling Fidesz party, stated during his interview with HirTV, “It is not sure we need to approve this bid,” referring specifically to Sweden.

These remarks come in the wake of a letter sent by Hungary’s foreign minister to his Swedish counterpart last week, reiterating concerns over what he deemed as “biased and unfair” accusations made by certain Swedish politicians against the Hungarian government.

Sweden submitted its application for NATO membership last year as a response to Russia’s military actions in Ukraine, and most alliance members swiftly ratified its bid.

However, both Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify Sweden’s bid and have expressed that they are closely coordinating their positions on the matter.

While Hungary’s parliament is scheduled to reconvene later this month, it remains uncertain whether a debate and vote on the ratification of Sweden’s membership will be included in the agenda.