The Hungarian parliament is set to convene on Monday to deliberate on Sweden's NATO membership application, following a call from opposition parties. This significant session, aimed at discussing the ratification of Sweden's bid to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), was announced through a parliamentary document released on Thursday according to Hotnews.
Despite the scheduled meeting, it remains uncertain if members of the ruling Fidesz party, which commands a substantial majority, will participate, as pointed out by Reuters.
Hungary stands as the sole NATO member yet to endorse Sweden's request to become part of the alliance. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has announced plans to meet with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban during a summit in Brussels this Thursday and Friday, signaling a potential breakthrough in discussions.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressed optimism on Friday, anticipating the Hungarian parliament's ratification of Sweden's accession upon resuming its session at the end of February. This move would overcome the last obstacle for Sweden's entry into the Western military alliance.
The development follows after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ratified the Turkish parliament's approval of Sweden's NATO membership last Thursday, as documented in the official presidential journal. This marked a significant step in Turkey's endorsement of Sweden joining the alliance.
The bid by Sweden and Finland to join NATO in 2022 initially faced unexpected resistance from Turkey, which argued that the two countries harbored groups Ankara deems terrorist. While Turkey consented to Finland's membership last March, it, alongside Hungary, delayed Sweden's application.
Ankara has since urged Stockholm to adopt a firmer approach towards local members of the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), regarded as a terrorist organization by both the European Union and the United States. In response, Sweden has introduced a new anti-terrorism legislation.
As the U.S. and EU escalate pressure on Hungary to cast the decisive vote enabling Sweden's NATO membership, those close to Prime Minister Orban seem unhurried. Last week, the speaker of Hungary's parliament indicated there was no immediate need to ratify Sweden's NATO bid, despite Hungary being the last alliance country to do so. Nonetheless, Orban expressed on Wednesday his intention to encourage Budapest's lawmakers to approve Sweden's accession at their earliest convenience, highlighting the importance of this decision for the alliance's cohesion.