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Sweden Ends Over Two Centuries of Neutrality and Officially Joins NATO

Updated: Apr 18


Sweden Ends Over Two Centuries of Neutrality and Officially Joins NATO

Sweden becomes the 32nd member of the NATO military alliance on March 7, 2024. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson submitted Sweden's NATO accession documents during a meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, solidifying the country's commitment to the military alliance.


Hungary, the last country to do so, handed over its ratification of Sweden's NATO membership, marking the final step in the accession process. The White House confirmed Sweden's formal inclusion in NATO, emphasizing the country's strong democracy, capable military, and shared values.


"Sweden is a strong democracy with a highly capable military that shares our values and vision for the world. Having Sweden as a NATO Ally will make the United States and our Allies even safer," stated the White House.


On March 11, a significant moment awaits as Sweden's flag will be raised in front of NATO headquarters in Brussels, symbolizing its official integration into the alliance.


The decision to join NATO comes amid growing concerns about Russia's aggression in Europe, particularly following its invasion of Ukraine. Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, after meeting with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington, DC, emphasized the principles of unity and solidarity that will guide Sweden as a NATO member.


"We will share burdens, responsibilities, and risks with our allies," declared Kristersson, marking a shift from Sweden's decades-long policy of neutrality.


US Secretary of State Antony Blinken acknowledged the historic significance of Sweden's NATO membership, describing it as a pivotal moment for Sweden, the alliance, and the transatlantic relationship. The accession documents were received with the statement, "Good things come to those who wait."


Sweden's decision to join NATO marks a new security policy era for the country. Minister for Employment and Integration Johan Pehrson labeled it as such, expressing his anticipation for this decision over the past two decades.


While Sweden had maintained a neutral stance for over 200 years and avoided military alliances, recent geopolitical shifts have prompted a reevaluation. The lack of military preparedness became evident in 2013 when Russian bomber planes approached Swedish airspace, necessitating NATO support.


Sweden's shift towards NATO membership adds cutting-edge submarines and a fleet of domestically produced Gripen fighter jets to the alliance's forces. The country's strategic position becomes crucial in connecting the Atlantic and Baltic regions.


Russia has responded with threats of unspecified "political and military-technical counter-measures" in reaction to Sweden's decision, underlining the geopolitical implications of this historic move.

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