Sweden's aspiration to join NATO has encountered yet another obstacle as Hungary, the lone NATO member yet to approve Sweden's membership, continues to postpone the proceeding. Despite this, there are glimmers of advancement. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has concurred to meet Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban to deliberate over the issue. The meeting, scheduled to happen in Budapest, is viewed as a platform to bolster bilateral relations and strengthen reciprocal understanding and trust between the two nations.
The revelation of a letter from Kristersson to Orban, in which he confirmed his acceptance of the invitation, emerged shortly after Turkey's parliament gave the green light to Sweden's NATO membership. This development brings Sweden one stride closer to joining the alliance, although Orban has expressed that there is no urgency in supporting Sweden's membership bid. The question still remains whether Hungary will expedite the vote on Sweden's membership or prolong the process.
Hungary's delay in ratifying Sweden's NATO membership has sparked curiosity about Hungary's motives and its ties with Russia. While Orban has voiced support for Sweden's membership, he has pointed fingers at Hungary's lawmakers for their lack of enthusiasm. Some pundits believe that Hungary's resistance might be influenced by geopolitical interests, as Orban has fostered tight bonds with both Russia and Turkey. Others conjecture that there might be some sort of agreement with Russia behind Hungary's position on Sweden's membership bid.
The postponement in Hungary's approval of Sweden's NATO membership has ignited frustration among other NATO members. Poland, which had previously agreed with Hungary on most issues, felt betrayed when Hungary approved Finland's membership but left Sweden out in the cold. This has triggered calls for Hungary's expulsion from NATO. The constant flip-flopping in Hungary's position has also enraged its closest allies, including Poland.
Orban's stance as a fiery defender of national sovereignty and his readiness to cause trouble overseas have positioned him as a symbol for nationalist politicians. He has received accolades from former US President Donald Trump and has become an essential interlocutor for European officials worried about his potential for obstruction. Despite his tense relations with much of Europe and the Biden administration, Orban continues to command unwavering support domestically.
Sweden's aspiration for NATO membership continues to face challenges, with Hungary stalling its ratification. However, there are signs of progress as the Swedish Prime Minister has agreed to meet with his Hungarian counterpart. The delay in Hungary's ratification has raised questions about Hungary's motives and its relationship with Russia. Despite the frustration caused by Hungary's stance, Orban remains a powerful figure domestically and continues to create chaos abroad. The future of Sweden's NATO membership bid is still unclear, but it is evident that the issue carries broader implications for the security and stability of Europe.