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Hungary is the only NATO country that has not ratified Swedish accession 

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Hungary’s governing coalition does not want to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership until Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visits his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orban in Budapest. The parliamentary group of Orban’s ruling right-wing populist Fidesz party told Hungarian broadcaster ATV on Friday, as reported online. The governing coalition also includes the Hungarian Christian Democrats (KNDP).

Hungary is the only one of the 31 NATO member countries that has not yet ratified Sweden’s accession. Hungary is delaying this decision because the right-wing populist government says it feels “insulted” by Sweden’s criticism of the rule of law.

Kristersson and Orban met briefly Thursday on the sidelines of the extraordinary EU summit in Brussels. Kristersson told Swedish journalists at a press conference that he had “a good conversation with Viktor Orban.” He will leave the issue open when there is a more in-depth meeting in Hungary. However, the Swede made it clear that he preferred not to travel to Budapest until Hungary had ratified and Sweden had obtained all the ratifications for its NATO membership, and this is creating an impasse in Swedish accession.

Hungary’s left-liberal opposition called for an extraordinary session of parliament to ratify Sweden’s NATO membership, scheduled for Feb. 5. Fidesz and KDNP said Friday that their parliamentarians will not take part in this session. Parliament Speaker Laszlo Köver, a Fidesz politician, had to approve this session because the number of opposition votes was sufficient. However, the opposition has no influence on the content of the agenda because Fidesz votes are needed to determine it. The actual session of Parliament begins on February 26.

In view of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine, Sweden has applied for NATO membership along with Finland in May 2022. Finland was welcomed into the alliance as the 31st member in early April last year.

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