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Sweden's PM refuses to negotiate with Orban on NATO membership application

Sweden's PM refuses to negotiate with Orban on NATO membership application Swedish Prime Minster Ulf Kristersson (Photo: Getty Images)

Sweden will not engage in negotiations with Hungary regarding its NATO membership application, which Budapest has not yet ratified, according to the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, according to Reuters.

"No demands that are related to NATO membership - that's not on the tablen," Kristersson stated.

However, he mentioned that there are things the two countries can discuss, including cooperation within NATO, Hungary's future presidency of the EU, support for Ukraine, and how to achieve maximum synergy from their respective air forces, which use the same fighter jet program – the Swedish JAS Gripen.

Kristersson stated that he does not know when Sweden will become the 32nd NATO member but expects it to happen "very soon."

The prime ministers of Sweden and Hungary will meet next week at the European Council meeting in Brussels.

Órban's request for negotiations

Recall that on January 23, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Órban invited the Prime Minister of Sweden to visit his country and negotiate regarding NATO membership.

Sweden's NATO membership is expected in about one and a half years. Stockholm initially planned to join the Alliance along with Finland. Both countries reviewed their policy of non-alignment after Russia's full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Finland joined NATO in June 2023. All NATO countries except Hungary ratified Sweden's application.

Earlier, Prime Minister Viktor Órban stated that Hungary's approval through parliamentary ratification is a mere formality since the issue has already been discussed and resolved in committees.

Recently, the parliamentary vote has been postponed several times. Hungarian politicians are demanding explanations regarding criticism of the country's democratic development, similar to concerns expressed by many other European politicians.

On January 25, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan signed documents for Sweden's accession, leaving Hungary as the last obstacle to Sweden's NATO membership.