NATO’s Big Move

( – In a vital and long-anticipated development for NATO, the US-led mutual-defense alliance will now admit its 32nd member – Sweden – after Hungary finally lifted its veto on the admission, at a time when Europe is experiencing its largest war since World War II.

Sweden has successfully removed the last barrier to joining NATO following the Hungarian parliament’s vote to ratify its application.

This decision came after Sweden sought membership in the defense alliance in response to Russia’s extensive invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

Membership in NATO requires unanimous approval from all existing members, and Sweden’s bid was held up by Hungary, which accused Sweden of harboring hostility towards it.

However, Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orban – considered an ally of Russian leader Vladimir Putin – recently shifted his stance.

Orban has now stated that Sweden and Hungary were now “prepared to die for each other.” This commitment underscores NATO’s principle of mutual defense among member states.

The Swedish Prime Minister, Ulf Kristersson, marked this occasion as a “historic day,” emphasizing the significance of Sweden’s departure from over two centuries of neutrality, BBC News reports.

“Sweden is an outstanding country, but we are joining NATO to even better defend everything we are and everything we believe in,” Kristersson said.

This sentiment was echoed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who affirmed that Hungary’s approval would strengthen and secure the alliance further.

After the parliamentary vote, the next steps involve the president’s signature and the issuance of a formal invitation to Sweden to join the alliance, a process expected to unfold swiftly.

The report notes that Hungary’s leader, Orban, has been a controversial figure within the European Union, particularly for his resistance to EU initiatives supporting Ukraine and for Hungary’s perceived regression from democratic principles.

This has led to criticism from Sweden, among other EU nations, with Orban’s spokesman accusing Swedish officials of assuming a “crumbling throne of moral superiority.”

Despite these tensions, Orban hosted Swedish Prime Minister Kristersson, expressing support for Sweden’s NATO membership.

The Hungarian parliament’s vote was overwhelmingly in favor of ratification, with 188 votes to 6.

Turkey was the other NATO member that had reservations about Sweden’s application, citing concerns over Sweden’s alleged support for Kurdish separatists. Turkey eventually withdrew its objections in January.