Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson. (Photo by Nils Petter Nilsson/Getty Images)


Sweden ‘will not give ground to Hungary’ over NATO membership bid


Sweden will not negotiate with Hungary over its application to join NATO, which Budapest is the sole member of the alliance to yet ratify, Swedish Prime Minster Ulf Kristersson said.

“No demands that are related to NATO membership – that’s not on the table,” Kristersson told Sweden’s TV4 on Januray 26.

Sweden, along with Finland, applied to join the alliance in 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But its membership has been held up by Turkey and Hungary.

Turkey’s President Tayyip Erdogan signed the accession documents on January 25, leaving Hungary now the final hurdle in Sweden’s path to joining the 31-member alliance.

Kristersson and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán will meet in the week starting January 29 at the European Council meeting in Brussels but Kristersson said Sweden would not make any new promises on NATO.

He did say the two countries had much to discuss, including co-operation inside NATO, Hungary’s upcoming EU presidency, support for Ukraine and how to get the “widest synergies” from their airforces sharing the same fighter jet programme – Sweden’s JAS Gripen.

Orbán is said to have been angered by Swedish criticism regarding democratic developments under his Government. He has invited Kristersson to Budapest for negotiations over NATO. But he also repeated on January 24 that his country supported Swedish membership.

Kristersson said he did not know when Sweden would become NATO’s 32nd member but added he expected it to be “very soon”.