March 4. 2024. 11:32

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Swedish PM, opposition leader lobby for NATO application in Brussels


Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Social Democratic Leader Magdalena Andersson pushed Hungary to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership bid on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels Thursday.

Earlier this week, Budapest announced that the Hungarian parliament would vote on the ratification of Finland’s NATO application before Sweden’s, thus raising concerns in Stockholm, as no explanation had been given to the Swedish government.

Now, there is a rift within the Hungarian ruling party. Fidesz and its MPs disagree on when a vote on Sweden’s ratification should occur even though a government spokesperson assured that the matter should not be delayed for very long, HVG reported Thursday.

But Stockholm wants an answer from Prime Minister Viktor Orbán about why his country intends to ratify Finland’s NATO application before Sweden’s.

“I will ask why they are now announcing that they will separate Sweden from Finland. These are signals that we have not received before,” said Kristersson as he arrived in Brussels.

The former prime minister and leader of the Swedish Social Democrats Magdalena Andersson, who was also in Brussels to meet other social democratic party leaders at the summit, also commented on the situation.

“In the community that we have in the European Union, it is, of course completely unreasonable that Hungary does not ratify Sweden at the same time as it ratifies Finland,” she said.

“This is of course a major setback for the Swedish government. They now need help from other countries,” she added.

“Of course, I will bring it up. I also expected Ulf Kristersson to raise this with (Hungarian Prime Minister) Viktor Orbán today. It is of the utmost importance,” said Andersson. “I am convinced that the countries (at the EU summit) will put pressure on Hungary to do so,” she added.

Also present at the Social Democrats meeting was NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who did not want to comment.

While Turkey and Hungary continue to delay their approval, Swedish Foreign Minister Billström expressed his “firm conviction” that Sweden will be part of the military alliance when NATO holds its summit in Vilnius on 11-12 July.

(Charles Szumski | EURACTIV.com)