Sweden Abandons Neutrality, Joins NATO Military Alliance After Centuries

Sweden formally joined NATO as its 32nd member on Thursday, following almost two years since its initial application to the military alliance.

In a statement earlier on Thursday, the Swedish government announced an extraordinary meeting to vote on NATO membership after receiving approval from all current members of the alliance.

The confirmation came later in the day through a statement from NATO, with Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg expressing, “Sweden is taking its rightful place at our table. Sweden’s accession makes NATO stronger, Sweden safer, and the whole Alliance more secure. I look forward to raising their flag at NATO HQ on Monday.”

Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson
Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson submits final documents in Washington, solidifying Sweden’s NATO membership.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson traveled to Washington, D.C., this week to submit the final documents. Sweden’s application, initiated in May 2022 amidst Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, signifies a significant departure from its longstanding policy of military nonalignment, which dates back to the Napoleonic wars.

Finland joined NATO as an official member last April, similarly influenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin’s actions in Ukraine. Following Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February 2022, authorities in Helsinki and Stockholm concluded that their nations were no longer secure on their own, prompting them to seek NATO membership.

The accession process for Sweden faced delays from NATO members Hungary and Turkey, who only voted in favor of it this year. Approval from all existing members is required for a new country to join the alliance, which operates on the principle that an attack on one member is an attack on all.

Hungary and Turkey’s approval marks the culmination of Sweden’s accession process into the NATO alliance.

Hungary, under the leadership of Prime Minister Viktor Orban, had long opposed Sweden’s NATO membership, citing criticisms of Hungary’s democracy. However, both prime ministers recently met in Budapest, Hungary, where they committed “die for each other” to resolving their differences, emphasizing solidarity.

Turkey ratified Sweden’s NATO membership in January, despite previous concerns over Sweden’s perceived tolerance of groups viewed as security threats by the Turkish government. Tensions were exacerbated by anti-Muslim protests in Sweden last year, further straining relations between the two countries.

Jackson Kelley
Jackson Kelley
Jackson is a political activist and market expert. He covers the impact of politics on the market and global economy.
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