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US Senators Urge Hungary to Approve Sweden’s NATO Membership

A bipartisan delegation of U.S. lawmakers is pressing Hungary to quickly endorse Sweden’s application to join NATO, expressing diminishing patience with the Central European nation’s prolonged hesitancy.

Hungary’s Stalling Tactics

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Hungary stands alone as the last of NATO’s 31 members not to ratify Sweden’s bid, causing growing frustration among alliance partners over the repeated deferrals.

Urgent Call from US Senators

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Senators Jeanne Shaheen and Thom Tillis have explicitly called on Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán to expedite Sweden’s NATO membership, highlighting potential repercussions for Hungary’s international relationships.

Orbán’s Unfulfilled Promises

Credit: BRUSSELS, BELGIUM. 24th March 2022. NATO Extraordinary SUMMIT. Brussels, Belgium — Photo by gints.ivuskans

Despite Orbán’s assurances that Hungary would not be the final NATO member to ratify Sweden’s application, the country’s inaction has become a focal point following Turkey’s bid approval.

Delayed Parliamentary Vote

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The Hungarian parliament has yet to schedule a vote on Sweden’s NATO accession, indicating that discussions may not commence until the parliament’s next session in late February.

Sanctions Considered

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Senator Ben Cardin has suggested the possibility of sanctions against Hungary, questioning its reliability as a NATO member and its participation in the U.S. Visa Waiver Program due to concerns over corruption and its stance on NATO expansion.

EU Aid Package to Ukraine

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Cardin commended the European Union’s approval of significant financial support for Ukraine, despite Orbán’s initial opposition, underscoring Hungary’s contentious role in EU decision-making.

Orbán’s Controversial Views

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In a recent statement, Orbán questioned the Western strategy in Ukraine, hinting at a divergent view from NATO allies and casting doubt on Ukraine’s prospects in the conflict against Russia.

Implications for Hungary-NATO Relations

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Hungary’s delay in ratifying Sweden’s NATO membership tests the patience of allies and may have lasting impacts on its diplomatic and military relationships.

Sweden’s NATO Ambitions

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Sweden’s pursuit of NATO membership, motivated by security concerns amid Russia’s aggression, hangs in the balance as Hungary deliberates its position.

International Pressure on Hungary

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The international community, particularly the United States, is intensifying pressure on Hungary to align with NATO’s expansion efforts, emphasizing the strategic importance of Sweden’s accession.

Debate Over Sanctions

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The discussion of potential sanctions against Hungary for its stance reflects broader concerns about the country’s alignment with NATO objectives and commitment to collective defense principles.

Orbán’s Political Strategy

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Orbán’s political maneuvering within the EU and NATO showcases Hungary’s complex role on the international stage, balancing national interests with alliance obligations.

Future of NATO Expansion

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Hungary’s decision on Sweden’s NATO bid is a critical juncture, with implications for the alliance’s cohesion and the geopolitical landscape of Europe.

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