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Orban Says He Will Push Hungary’s Parliament to Accept Sweden in NATO

Orban Says He Will Push Hungary’s Parliament to Accept Sweden in NATO


Prime Minister Viktor Orban of Hungary said on Wednesday that he would “continue to urge” Hungarian legislators to vote in favor of accepting Sweden as a member of NATO, a day after Turkey, the only other holdout, endorsed the Nordic nation’s entry to the military alliance.

The Turkish decision left Hungary isolated as the last country that has not yet approved NATO’s expansion. The Hungarian Parliament, which voted to accept Finland into the alliance last spring but left Sweden in limbo, is in winter recess and not currently scheduled to reconvene until Feb. 15.

It was unclear whether Mr. Orban’s remarks, posted on the social media platform X after a conversation with NATO’s secretary general, Jens Stoltenberg, meant that the Parliament would swiftly vote on Sweden’s membership. He has often said in the past that he wanted Sweden to join NATO but that legislators were “not enthusiastic,” blaming Hungary’s repeated delays in accepting Sweden on the right of legislators to make their own decisions.

Most analysts questioned that explanation, noting that Mr. Orban has a tight grip on the governing Fidesz party and that its members, who constitute a large majority in Parliament, invariably follows the prime minister’s instructions. He said on Wednesday that he wanted Parliament to vote in favor of Sweden’s membership “at the first possible opportunity,” but gave no indication of when that might be.

Mr. Stoltenberg, in his own post on X, said he had a “good call” with Mr. Orban and “looks forward to the ratification as soon as Parliament reconvenes.”

Mr. Orban stood alone last month against other European leaders to torpedo an aid package for Ukraine worth $52 billion. Leaders will take another run at convincing Mr. Orban to fall into line when they reconvene on Feb. 1 for an extraordinary summit in Brussels.


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