Sweden finally gets NATO approval

Sweden: NATO's newest member

Swedish flag. Credit: byggarn.se/Shutterstock.com

In a pivotal move, Hungary has lifted its veto, enabling Sweden’s entry into NATO after a prolonged 21-month wait.

On Monday, February 26, Hungary’s Parliament endorsed Sweden’s NATO membership, marking the culmination of a 21-month journey since Sweden, alongside Finland, sought accession in the wake of Russia’s assault on Ukraine.

This clearance paves the way for Sweden’s imminent induction into the alliance, a step that will significantly bolster NATO’s influence across Northern Europe and the Baltic.

A Strategic Expansion

Sweden’s accession is expected to occur within days, following the deposit of ratification documents with the US Department of State. NATO Secretary General, Jens Stoltenberg will then extend an invitation to join the Washington Treaty.

Stoltenberg posted the news on Twitter/X: ‘I welcome the Hungarian parliament’s vote to ratify Sweden’s membership in NATO.

‘Now that all Allies have approved, Sweden will become the 32nd NATO Ally. Sweden’s membership will make us all stronger and safer,’ he concluded.

Sweden’s military leaders have warned their citizens to mentally prepare for war. This move not only enhances the defence of NATO’s eastern flank but also ensures dominance over the Baltic Sea region, easing troop and equipment movement from Norwegian North Sea ports.

Navigating Challenges

The journey to NATO membership has been arduous, marked by a series of negotiations and concessions.

Turkey’s approval came in January, following a US agreement to sell F-16 fighter jets, leaving Hungary as the final hurdle.

Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban relented after a meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, resulting in an agreement on the sale of Swedish Gripen fighter jets to Hungary.

Obran, who struggled to explain the reasons for his reluctance, relented following a visit to Budapest by his Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, last week.

Military and Defence Prowess

Sweden boasts a formidable defence industry, a legacy of its Cold War strategy for military self-sufficiency. As one of the world’s top arms exporters per capita and a developer of modern fighter aircraft, Sweden’s commitment to bolstering its armed forces is evident.

The reintroduction of general conscription and plans to meet NATO’s military spending target of at least two per cent of GDP this year underscore its readiness to address emerging threats.

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Written by

John Ensor

Originally from Doncaster, Yorkshire, John now lives in Galicia, Northern Spain with his wife Nina. He is passionate about news, music, cycling and animals.