The US Ambassador to NATO believes that news about Sweden's accession may emerge soon. Hungary also confirmed to the diplomat that it would ratify membership. Julianne Smith gave an exclusive interview with Euronews in Brussels.
Hungary, along with Turkey, has blocked Sweden's application to join NATO for a year and a half. But the Ankara Parliament approved the Swedish request in an unexpected move at the beginning of the week, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has since signed it, thus completing the ratification process in Turkey. Thus, Hungary is the latest NATO member to withhold the issue.
“We have assurances from Hungary that they will move forward on this issue and work to resolve it. The Hungarians understand, and Prime Minister Orbán understands that we are all stronger in this alliance with Sweden, and that is good for Sweden and good for NATO.” This is an important step for our alliance. It is also important for Putin, because it tells him that he made a mistake in his calculations. He thought that NATO would give a weak response when it entered the territory of Ukraine. But in reality, Julianne Smith said, “the coalition has ended up stronger and more united than ever before.”
At the same time, the ambassador said European allies need reassurance that the United States will provide strong support for NATO despite widespread concerns that if Donald Trump is re-elected in November, America may abandon the alliance. In 2020, Donald Trump reportedly told Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission: “You have to understand that if Europe is attacked, we will never help and support.” Julianne Smith added that there is a difference between what a candidate says publicly and what he does while in office.
“There is always a difference between what candidates say during the election campaign and what actually happens. Should they take a leadership role or secure a particular position for which they are running? So I think it is too early to draw any conclusions at this stage. “I mean, first of all,” the diplomat noted. “Everything, let's see who wins the US elections and go from there.”
The Ambassador stressed that all NATO allies will support Ukraine and that the Alliance will continue to focus on maintaining the security of NATO's eastern flank.