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Sweden takes formal decision to apply for NATO membership

17 May 2022
Sweden takes formal decision to apply for NATO membership

Sweden\'s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson attends a news conference in Stockholm, Sweden on Monday. Agency photo


News Desk :
Sweden’s Social Democrat minority government on Monday (16 May) decided it will formally apply for NATO membership, following in the footsteps of its neighbour Finland.
Following a debate in the country’s parliament, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said a broad majority favours joining the Alliance.
“The best thing for Sweden and the Swedish population is to join NATO,” she added.
Andersson told reporters that Sweden would be “in a vulnerable position” while the application was being processed but that she felt “confident that there is support for this among the Swedish people”.
Sweden’s governing Social Democrats dropped their 73-year opposition to joining NATO on Sunday and are hoping for a quick accession after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has highlighted Stockholm and Helsinki’s vulnerabilities despite their close cooperation with the military alliance in recent years.
The decision to abandon the military non-alignment that has been a central part of Swedish national identity for more than 200 years marks a significant change in public perception in the Nordic region following Russia’s attack on its neighbour.
“Europe, Sweden and the Swedish people are living now in a new and dangerous reality,” Andersson said during a debate on security policy in parliament on Monday.
However, she said that Sweden did not want NATO military bases or nuclear weapons on its territory if its membership is approved.
There is broad backing in parliament for an application, though the government does not need its approval to go ahead. But both countries’ desire to become NATO members is also set to redraw the geopolitical map of Northern Europe.
With Nordics set to join NATO, Estonia wants to close Baltic security gaps
In Estonia, Finland and Sweden’s looming NATO accession is seen as a spectacular flop for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and an opportunity to close a gap in Baltic Sea security.
Finland shares a 1,300-kilometre land border with Russia, and Sweden has a maritime border, with the strategically important island of Gotland being key in the Baltics’ defence plans.
In the Baltic Sea region, Finland and Sweden’s looming NATO accession is seen as a spectacular flop for Russia’s President Vladimir Putin and an opportunity to close gaps in Baltic Sea security.

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