Sweden wants to apply for NATO membership. “We are leaving one era and entering a new one,” Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said in Stockholm on Monday. The plan is to submit the application together with Finland in the coming days.
Earlier in the morning, during a discussion in parliament, a majority of the parties voted in favor of membership in the western defense alliance. The Greens and the Left are against it. The two parties together have 43 of 349 seats in the Swedish Parliament.
“There is a lot in Sweden that is worth defending, and in our opinion that is best done in NATO,” said Social Democrat Andersson at the joint press conference with the head of the bourgeois opposition party Moderaterna, Ulf Kristersson, on Monday afternoon. “We’re living in dangerous times right now,” said Kristersson, who spoke of a “historic day.”
The government of neighboring Sweden, Finland, announced on Sunday that it intends to apply for NATO membership. A majority for this in the Finnish Parliament is considered safe. The topic had been discussed there in an hour-long debate since Monday morning.
Both countries are thus giving up a long tradition of military non-alignment. The admission process starts when Finland and Sweden have submitted their applications to NATO headquarters in Brussels. All 30 states must agree to join.
You have received signals from different countries that they want to make a decision as soon as possible, said Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist on Swedish television on Monday. A solution was to be found with Turkey, which had expressed criticism of the accession of Sweden and Finland.
“We will send a delegation that will have discussions and dialogue with Turkey to see how we can resolve this issue and what the real issue is,” Hultqvist said. “But the signal we got from NATO is that there is agreement that both Sweden and Finland should be there.”