Hungary will ratify Sweden's accession to NATO, and will become the 32nd member state of the transatlantic alliance.

Hungary will ratify Sweden's accession to NATO, and will become the 32nd member state of the transatlantic alliance.

On Monday, February 26, Hungary must ratify Sweden's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), thus removing the last obstacle to the Nordic country's entry as NATO's 32nd member, a historic security shift initiated by Stockholm in continuation of the offensive launched by Russia in Ukraine.

The Hungarian parliament's vote, which comes three days after a visit by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, during which an agreement was signed on the delivery of fighter jets, will put an end to months of waiting for Sweden, which, like Finland, has applied to join NATO in May 2022.

Although any joining NATO must be approved by all member states, Turkey and Hungary have long banned Sweden's membership, while Finland became a member of the alliance last April. Western leaders consider this expansion, unprecedented since the 1990s, to contradict the aspirations of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who according to them imagined that NATO unity would be shattered with the invasion of Ukraine.

Turkey gave the green light at the beginning of the year to enter Sweden, after Stockholm had long demanded tougher measures against Kurdish citizens whom Ankara views as “Terrorists.” Moreover, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also linked the issue of Sweden's NATO membership to the US delivery of F-16 fighter jets and the reopening of discussions with the European Union regarding Turkey's accession to the bloc.

When it comes to Hungary, the reasons for blocking Sweden's candidacy are less clear. More than specific demands, Budapest mainly expressed its dissatisfaction with Stockholm's criticism of the erosion of democracy in Hungary since the nationalist Viktor Orbán came to power.

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