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Despite Russian Threats, Sweden Announces It Will Apply for NATO Membership

Suecia anuncia que pedirá formalmente su ingreso en la OTAN

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[Leer en español]

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, a Social Democrat, announced Monday after an extraordinary meeting of her government and a parliamentary debate that Sweden will formally apply for NATO membership, breaking a two-century-old policy of non-alignment.

“The Swedish government has decided that Sweden should join NATO,” Andersson told a press conference of a decision that has the backing of Sweden’s main political forces and which he justified by the worsening security situation caused by the war in Ukraine.

The decision was expected after Andersson communicated Sunday the support of his party, which heads a minority solo government, for membership, contrary to its decades-old political line and half a year after it had approved at a general congress to maintain its status as an ally but not a member of the alliance.

“It is best for the security of Sweden and the Swedes to join NATO and to do so together with Finland,” the prime minister said.

Sweden’s ambassador in Brussels will submit the membership application to NATO headquarters in the Belgian capital “shortly,” at the same time as Finland does, Andersson said.

The Swedish prime minister referred to the conclusions of the analysis of the new security situation agreed by the majority of Swedish parties to emphasize that NATO membership would have a deterrent effect in northern Europe, improve security and reduce risks, in addition to pointing out that there is no other “realistic” option.

“Unfortunately we have no reason to believe that Russia will change in the foreseeable future,” he said.

The Swedish government also decided to adopt a proposal that will make it possible for Sweden to receive military support from all EU and NATO countries for the duration of the ratification process.

“Sweden is going to find itself in a vulnerable situation during the time our application is being processed,” she said.

The Social Democrat prime minister was accompanied in her appearance by the leader of the opposition, the conservative Ulf Kristersson, who assured that both will assume joint responsibility in the NATO accession process.

Unlike Finland, in Sweden the decision on applying for membership is taken by the Government and no vote is held in Parliament, although today there was a debate in the Chamber in which the different political forces showed their position on NATO membership, which is supported by a clear majority, also in the population, according to the latest polls.

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