Hungary Snubs U.S. Senators Pushing for Sweden’s Entry Into NATO

Hungary, the last holdout blocking Sweden’s entry into NATO, thumbed its nose over the weekend at the United States, declining to meet with a bipartisan delegation of senators who had come to press the government of Prime Minister Viktor Orban to swiftly approve the Nordic nation’s entry into the military alliance.

The snub, which Senator Chris Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, described on Sunday as “strange and concerning,” represented the latest effort by Mr. Orban, a stalwart champion of national sovereignty, to show he will not submit to outside pressure over NATO’s long-stalled expansion.

Despite having only 10 million people and accounting for only 1 percent of the European Union’s economic output, Hungary under Mr. Orban has made defiance of more powerful countries its guiding philosophy. “Hungary before all else,” Mr. Orban said on Saturday at the end of a state of the nation address in which he said Europe’s policy of supporting Ukraine had “failed spectacularly.”

Legislators from Mr. Orban’s governing Fidesz party and government ministers all declined to meet with the visiting American senators, all of whom are robust supporters of Ukraine.

“I’m disappointed to say that nobody from the government would meet with us while we were here,” Senator Jeanne Shaheen, a New Hampshire Democrat and co-chair of the Senate’s NATO Observer Group, said Sunday at a news conference.

Speaking a day earlier in Budapest, Hungary’s capital, Mr. Orban restated his previous commitment — so far reneged on — to let Sweden into the alliance as soon as possible. “We are on course to ratify Sweden’s accession to NATO at the beginning of Parliament’s spring session,” he said.

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