The ambassadors of the 30 NATO countries signed the accession protocols necessary for the admission of Sweden and Finland on Tuesday in Brussels. This was confirmed by several diplomats on Tuesday at the German Press Agency in Brussels.

At the signing ceremony at NATO headquarters, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of a “truly historic moment” for Sweden, Finland and NATO. “With 32 nations at one table we will be even stronger,” said the Norwegian.

Sweden and Finland applied for NATO membership on May 18 under the impression of the Russian attack on Ukraine. For decades, the two Nordic countries had prioritized alliance neutrality.

The ceremony was attended by representatives of all 30 member states. Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde and her Finnish colleague Pekka Haavisto also attended as guests.

By signing the accession protocols, the governments of the NATO countries authorize the Secretary General of the alliance to officially invite Sweden and Finland to join. However, before the protocols can come into force, they still have to be ratified by the states. The national parliament is usually also involved in this procedure.

According to estimates, it could therefore take another six to eight months before Finland and Sweden can actually be admitted to the alliance.