The leadership of Sweden's ruling Social Democratic Workers' Party at a meeting Sunday backed the kingdom's entry into the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), Foreign Minister Ann Linde reported. “Today, the Social Democratic Party of Sweden made a historic decision: it decided to support joining the defensive alliance - NATO,” she wrote on Twitter.
Finland Challenges Russia by Formalizing Decision To Join NATO
“We believe that it is best for Sweden and the security of the Swedish people that we join NATO,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said at a press conference alongside the foreign minister, the defense minister and the party secretary.
The party's program previously stated that “freedom from military alliances serves Sweden well and contributes to stability and security in Northern Europe” and that such a course implies an active, comprehensive, and responsible foreign and security policy combined with deeper defense cooperation, including transatlantic.
Now, the country's parliament has an absolute majority of votes in favor of joining NATO: six of the eight parties support membership in the alliance. Sweden's ruling party supported the country's entry into NATO with one caveat: the alliance must not place nuclear weapons or permanent bases on the kingdom's territory.
According to a two-month-old poll commissioned by the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, 51% of Swedes favor NATO membership, up nine points from January.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said in Berlin that he is counting on a speedy process for the accession of these two countries. At the same time, Turkey may block the Swedish-Finnish accession process: Ankara is not satisfied with the position of Stockholm and Helsinki on Kurdish separatist groups.
Hours earlier, Finland had made a similar announcement.