Sweden’s Kristersson agrees to meet Orbán to discuss NATO bid

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson has offered his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán the prospect of a meeting in both Brussels and Budapest, as the Nordic country looks to have its application to join the NATO military alliance finally approved.

Sweden applied to join NATO in May 2022, in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But all existing members need to give their assent before the country can join. Hungary has so far held out.

There are expectations that Sweden’s ordeal could be coming to an end after Turkey’s parliament gave its approval this week after months of delays.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan still has to inscribe the decision into law. If he does so promptly, Sweden will only need Hungary’s ratification to join the defence alliance.

Earlier this week Orbán sent a letter inviting his Swedish counterpart to discuss Sweden’s NATO bid. He then promised to have Hungary’s parliament hold a vote “at the first possible opportunity,” without providing a date.

In a response to Orbán’s invitation, Kristersson said he believed more dialogue between Hungary and Sweden would be beneficial.

“I look forward to discussing all these issues with you in more depth in Budapest at a time convenient for both of us,” Kristersson wrote in a letter that was made public. “We will also have an opportunity to meet at the important European Council in Brussels on February 1.”

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