The Hungarian government coalition does not want to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO until Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visits his Hungarian counterpart Viktor Orbán in Budapest.
The parliamentary group of Orbán’s party, Fidesz, announced the condition on Hungarian broadcaster ATV. In addition to Fidesz, the Christian Democratic People’s Party KDNP is also part of the government coalition.
Hungary is the only one of the 31 NATO member states that has not yet ratified Sweden’s accession. Budapest is delaying because the government says it is “offended” by criticism from Sweden about the state of the rule of law in Hungary.
Kristersson and Orban saw each other briefly on the sidelines of the EU summit in Brussels on Thursday. The Swedish Prime Minister told the press that he had a “good conversation” with the Hungarian leader.
Kristersson did not say whether there would be a further meeting in Hungary. However, he prefers not to travel to Budapest until Hungary ratifies the agreement.
The Hungarian left-liberal opposition called for a special session of parliament to approve Swedish accession. That session is currently scheduled for February 5. Fidesz and KDNP stated on Friday that their MPs will not attend the hearing.
Parliament Speaker László Kövér, a Fidesz politician, had to allow the session as the opposition had enough votes. The opposition has no influence on the content of the agenda, as this also requires the votes of Fidesz.
Sweden and Finland jointly submitted a membership application in May 2022, in response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine. The Finns have been a member of NATO for almost a year now.