Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán invited his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, to visit Hungary to “negotiate” regarding Sweden’s accession into NATO.
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström responded to the invitation almost immediately, Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter reports. Although it is not yet clear whether the Swedish prime minister will in fact visit Hungary, Billström says there is no point in negotiating. Among the reasons he gave for this was that Hungary, unlike Turkey, has not yet set any conditions for approving Sweden’s NATO request.
He stressed that “there is already very extensive cooperation between Sweden and Hungary, so there is no reason for further talks.”
“In this situation, I see no reason to negotiate,” the Swedish foreign minister stated. At the same time, he then admitted that “we can continue the dialogue and discuss issues. There is no lack of things to discuss.”
On Tuesday, the parliament of Turkey ratified Sweden’s NATO membership, which is now only awaiting a similar approval from Hungary.
Hungarian Foreign Minister Péter Szijjártó, speaking in Brussels, said, “that the government is fully in favor of Sweden becoming a member of NATO.” However, there is no clear timetable for Hungary ratifying Sweden’s membership.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in a statement he welcomed a Hungarian vote and “also count[s] on Hungary to complete its national ratification as soon as possible.”
“All NATO Allies agreed in Vilnius to invite Sweden to join our Alliance, and Sweden has fulfilled its commitments,” he continued. “Sweden’s membership makes NATO stronger and all of us safer.”