The Swedish parliament has given the green light for the country to join NATO. After a parliamentary debate in Stockholm, a clear majority of MPs voted to give up Sweden's decades of non-alignment in favor of NATO membership.
This requires changes in two laws. 269 of the MPs present voted for accession, 37 against. Only two of the eight parties in the Swedish parliament - the Left and the Greens - are opposed to joining.
However, Sweden can only become a NATO member once all 30 member states have ratified accession. 28 countries have already done so. Hungary and Turkey are still missing. However, Ankara is blocking Sweden's admission to the alliance, on the grounds that Sweden is not acting consistently enough against "terrorist organizations". To settle the dispute, Sweden recently presented a draft for tougher terrorism laws.
Sweden's foreign minister is confident
Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom said in Stockholm that despite the Turkish blockade, he was confident that Sweden could become a member of the alliance by the next NATO summit in Vilnius in July.
Against the background of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, Sweden applied for NATO membership with its neighbor Finland in May 2022. The two countries wanted to join the alliance together. But now it looks like Finland could lead the way. Because Turkey wants to ratify the accession of the Finns. Hungary also wants to vote on this in March.
The decision on Sweden's accession, on the other hand, may not be taken by the Hungarian parliament until a later date. "If that actually happens, I think Hungary owes us an explanation," said Sweden's Foreign Minister Billström. The country was positive for Sweden's accession and did not make any special demands like Turkey had done.