Hungary Buys Swedish Jets, Moves Closer to Approving Sweden's NATO Bid

Written by Camilla Jessen

Feb.23 - 2024 2:43 PM CET

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Photo: Jason Wells / Shutterstock.com
Photo: Jason Wells / Shutterstock.com
Hungary is set to buy four JAS Gripen fighter jets from Sweden, moving towards endorsing Sweden's NATO membership after previous hold-ups.

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Hungary has agreed to purchase four JAS Gripen fighter jets from Sweden and is gearing up to finally endorse Sweden's NATO membership after delays.

Hungary was the last NATO member to hold off on Sweden's request to join the alliance, a decision made following Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Hungary's Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who recently agreed to a parliamentary vote on the matter, met with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

Hungary, which currently leases Gripen jets, plans to enhance its air defense and NATO commitments with this purchase.

"We not only keep our air defense capability but will increase it ... which means our commitment to NATO will strengthen and so will our participation in NATO's joint operations," Orban stated at a press event with Kristersson.

Kristersson expressed his approval of the agreement.

"As you know and I know we do not agree on everything but we agree that we should cooperate where possible," Kristersson said.

Orban's government, known for its close ties with Russia, has shown hesitation over Sweden's NATO bid due to criticisms of Hungary's domestic policies. Now, it is taking a significant step forward with this deal.

Sweden's Shift Towards NATO

Sweden's move to join NATO marks a departure from its long-standing policy of military non-alignment, driven by changing security perceptions post-Russia's aggression towards Ukraine.

This shift has seen widespread support within Sweden, from the government to the public.

Even the Social Democrats, the dominant political force in Sweden over the last 100 years, have changed their mind on NATO membership, leading pollsters to observe the biggest shift in public opinion on record.

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