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Sweden Set To Join NATO After Hungary Authorizes Bid

(Photo by ATTILA KISBENEDEK/AFP via Getty Images)

OAN’s Elizabeth Volberding
11:05 AM – Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Sweden is set to become the 32nd member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) following negotiations that lasted over a year. 

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On Monday, Sweden was officially cleared to join NATO after Hungary’s congress approved the bid. 

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson labeled the event a “historic day,” while others in the alliance voiced relief by the action.

“Today is a historic day… Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security,” Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on X, formerly Twitter.

“When it comes to Russia, the only thing we can expect with any certainty is that they don’t like Sweden becoming a member of NATO, nor Finland,” Kristersson stated at a press conference, referring to Russia’s possible reaction. 

Moving forward, “Nordic countries will have a common defense for the first time in 500 years… we remain friends, and we become allies,” he added.

Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the Nordic nation broke almost two centuries of neutrality and officially applied to join NATO in May of that year. Finland, a neighboring country, also gave up its long-standing procedure of neutrality to join the alliance.

All present members of NATO must come to an agreement in order for a country to join. While most NATO countries quickly approved the applications, Finland and Sweden encountered resistance from both Turkey and Hungary. These concerns appear to have been prompted by pressure from the other members of the alliance, as well as a number of concessions. 

In April 2023, Finland formally joined NATO. Meanwhile, Sweden’s application for membership was accepted by Turkey last month, and the Hungarian parliament also approved it on Monday.

“The parliaments of all NATO member states have now voted in favor of Swedish accession to NATO,” the Swedish Prime Minister stated. “Sweden stands ready to shoulder its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security.”

After the necessary documents have been completed, Sweden is anticipated to officially join NATO in a ceremony at some point this week.

NATO Chief Jens Stoltenberg claimed that Sweden would make the alliance “stronger and safer” while the United States, which is the prominent alliance power, along with Britain and Germany, applauded the looming admission of Sweden.

Olaf Scholz, the chancellor of Germany, stated that including Sweden in NATO  “strengthens our defense alliance and with it the security of Europe and the world.”

“It is the last piece of the puzzle in the NATO map for northern Europe,” said Robert Dalsjo, an analyst for the Swedish Defence Research Agency (FOI).

The proposal should be signed into law by Hungary’s president in a few days. After two centuries of military neutrality, Sweden will then be invited to formally join NATO as its 32nd member by acceding to the Washington Treaty.

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