BUDAPEST (Reuters) -Relations between Sweden and Hungary are at a low point, Prime Minister Viktor Orban’s chief of staff said on Thursday, calling on Stockholm to take steps to boost confidence as it seeks Hungary’s backing for NATO membership.
Finland and neighbour Sweden applied together last year to join NATO, but Sweden’s application has been held up by NATO members Turkey and Hungary, which cites grievances over Swedish criticism of Orban’s record on democracy and the rule of law.
Finland formally joined NATO on Tuesday in a historic policy shift brought on by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine that drew a threat from Moscow of “counter-measures”.
Welcoming Finland’s entry, U.S. President Joe Biden has urged Turkey and Hungary to conclude their ratification processes for Sweden to join the alliance “without delay”.
Orban’s chief of staff, Gergely Gulyas, reiterated ruling party concerns over Sweden’s NATO bid, which he said were also shared by Orban’s government.