The Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, and the opposition leader, Ulf Kristersson, officially announced, this Monday, the country’s application to join NATO, thus ending 200 years of Swedish neutrality.
“The government has decided to inform NATO of Sweden’s desire to become a member of the alliance,” Andersson said at a press conference in Stockholm, after an extraordinary executive meeting and a parliamentary debate, quoted by AFP and EFE.
“We are leaving an era and entering a new one,” said the leader of the Swedish Social Democratic Party, alluding to Sweden’s policy of non-alignment since the Napoleonic Wars in the 19th century.
“There is a clear parliamentary majority that supports the entry”, they guaranteed, quoted by El País. “Russia will not like Sweden and Finland to join NATO. We have to be prepared for some tough months,” added Kristersson.
The prime minister acknowledged that the decision was “profoundly influenced” by Finland, which announced on Sunday its intention to join the Atlantic Alliance.
Andersson added that Sweden would be “in a very vulnerable position” if it were the only country in the Baltic Sea not to belong to NATO, as Russia could “increase pressure” on the country.
The announcement comes after the outcome of the parliamentary debate in the Swedish Parliament (Riksdag), in which the only parties that remained against accession were the Left and the Green Party, which occupy only 43 of the 349 seats.
The Swedish government also announced that it will ask NATO to exclude the possibility of deploying nuclear weapons or permanent bases with allied troops in Sweden.
The request of the two nations has to be unanimously ratified by the 30 member states of NATO.
Source: With Agencies