< Back

Orban approved defense deal with Stockholm for Sweden's NATO accession

Feb 23, 2024

Hungary and Sweden are set to sign a defense industry agreement, opening the way for the parliament in Budapest to ratify the Nordic country's accession to NATO early next week.

This was stated by Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Bloomberg reports.


Orban, who is hosting his Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson in Budapest today, said in a radio interview that the deal would be the last step needed to convince his lawmakers to support Sweden's NATO bid.

The vote in the Hungarian parliament on February 26 is the final approval needed for Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, which would help the military alliance protect its eastern flank after Finland joined NATO last April. Russia's invasion of Ukraine two years ago spurred the two Scandinavian countries to apply for membership in the bloc.

Kristersson has previously said that the two sides could discuss cooperation with the Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets that Hungary uses in its air force.

Hungary operates 14 Gripen jets under a lease agreement that expires in 2026, and negotiations are underway to extend and expand that agreement.

Orban, Russia's closest ally in the European Union, also repeated his calls to stop supporting what he sees as Ukraine's doomed attempts to repel a Russian attack. Donald Trump's victory in the US election in November will help sway the NATO alliance toward this position, Orban said.

To recap, Sweden applied to join NATO in 2022. The only countries that delayed the ratification of membership were Turkey and Hungary. Recently, the Turkish parliament approved Sweden's accession to the alliance.

The last step on Sweden's path to NATO is ratification by the Hungarian parliament.

Author – Anastasiya Glotova, 23/02/2024

Recent news