DThe Hungarian parliament approved Sweden's accession to NATO on Monday. The acceptance of the Nordic EU country into the transatlantic alliance as the 32nd member state is now only a formality. “Sweden's accession to NATO will strengthen Hungary's security,” said Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the opening of the parliamentary session in Budapest. There, 188 MPs ultimately voted for ratification, six voted against, and there were no abstentions.

Sweden reacted immediately to the news from Budapest. Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson wrote on Platform X about a “historic day” and emphasized: “We are ready to assume our responsibility in NATO.”

The Alliance's Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg, welcomed the vote. Sweden's membership will make the alliance stronger and more secure, the Norwegian wrote on X.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz (SPD) also welcomed the Hungarian parliament's approval of Sweden's admission. “The path for Sweden into NATO is clear – that's a win for all of us,” Scholz wrote on X. “The decision strengthens our defense alliance and thus the security of Europe and the world.”

Sweden has traditionally been neutral

Hungary was the last NATO member that had yet to take this step. Sweden, together with Finland, applied to join the alliance almost two years ago. The two traditionally militarily neutral countries were reacting to the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. Finland was formally admitted to NATO in April last year.

While Sweden invested heavily in the country's defense for a long time, according to government figures, spending was massively reduced after the end of the Cold War. In 2020 they only amounted to 1.2 percent of gross domestic product. After the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the government in Stockholm announced that it wanted to increase spending to two percent “as soon as possible.” This year, the target is expected to be exceeded.

The Swedish military has a total of around 50,000 soldiers, around half of whom are reservists. The Swedish Air Force has more than 90 self-developed Gripen fighter jets, and the Swedish Baltic Sea Navy includes several corvettes and submarines.

30776 74941 49251 62275 31674 28186 29145 92304 79815 34762 06989 35270 13255 09477 79011 01932 68983 16713 21647 47519