Sweden clears final hurdle in bid to join NATO after Hungary approves accession

Feb 26 (CNN/GNA) – Hungary’s parliament overwhelmingly approved Sweden’s bid to join NATO on Monday, clearing the way for the Nordic nation’s accession to the alliance after nearly two years of intense negotiations and dealing a geopolitical blow to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Getting approval from the Hungarian parliament was the final hurdle for Stockholm joining NATO. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson visited Budapest on Friday to discuss defense and security cooperation with his Hungarian counterpart, Viktor Orban. The two sides appeared to reconcile, agreeing on a deal that would see Hungary acquire four new Swedish-made Gripen fighter jets.

Of the 194 members of parliament who voted, just six rejected Sweden’s accession.

“Today is a historic day,” Kristersson said on X shortly after the vote. “Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security.”

Sweden will formally join the alliance after it submits its instrument of accession with the United States government, which is the depository of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg confirmed Sweden’s will become a member of the block now that all allies have approved its bid to join.

“Sweden’s membership will make us all stronger and safer,” he said.

GNA/Credit: CNN