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Sweden will join NATO

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Hungary’s Parliament has voted in favour of Sweden joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).
Sweden will join NATO

Sweden will join NATO after Hungary’s Parliament voted to approve its application.

New members must receive a formal endorsement from all members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation before they can join the alliance.

Hungary was the last of the NATO countries to support Sweden’s bid. Its vote means Sweden will officially become the alliance’s 32nd member.

What is NATO?

Founded in 1949, NATO is an alliance of North American and European countries.

NATO countries must come to the defence of their fellow members if attacked.

Over the past 75 years, NATO membership has expanded to nearly triple its 12 founding states.

Many eastern European nations joined in the 1990s and 2000s, including Hungary and Poland.

Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin is NATO’s biggest opponent. He claims the alliance is encroaching on Russian territory.

Ukraine is now one of two countries on Russia’s European border still not in the alliance. It has been trying to join NATO for several years.

However, if it were to join NATO during the current conflict with Russia, it would compel all NATO countries into direct conflict.

Sweden

Sweden has historically taken neutral positions during global conflicts. However, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine prompted the country to apply for NATO membership.

Finland, which shares a border with Russia, also applied after the invasion. It joined NATO last year, following approvals from Hungary and Türkiye.

Türkiye had raised concerns about the presence of certain Kurdish people in Sweden and Finland whom it considers to be terrorists.

However, Türkiye signed off on Sweden’s NATO bid earlier this year, after it was satisfied its concerns had been resolved.

Hungary

Hungarian PM Viktor Orban has close ties to Putin, and has previously blocked efforts from the European Union to send military aid to Ukraine.

Sweden is also one of many EU countries that have accused Orban of being an anti-democratic leader.

Despite this criticism, Orban hosted Swedish PM Ulf Kristersson in Hungary earlier this month, where he announced his country’s support for Sweden’s NATO membership.

Sweden’s response

The vote to approve Sweden’s NATO membership passed Hungary’s Parliament with overwhelming support.

Kristersson called the moment “historic”, and said that Sweden “stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security”.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Sweden’s membership, saying it would make member states “stronger and safer”.

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