Sweden’s foreign minister signs an application to join NATO.
Following Monday’s news that membership to NATO will proceed, Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde has officially signed her country’s application.
According to English-language news site The Local, Linde said Monday that “it seems significant, fateful, and that we have ended up doing what I believe is best for Sweden.”
The announcement comes just two days after Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced the country’s decision to join the alliance as well.
According to The Local, both countries will submit official petitions to NATO headquarters in Brussels later this week, ending decades of official neutrality on both sides.
According to ERR, Foreign Minister Linde was unable to provide a specific timeline for joining, but told CNN that the full process may take up to a year.
President Niinistö will meet with King Carl XVI Gustaf in Sweden on Tuesday.
All 30 current NATO member nations must accept Finland and Sweden’s application through various domestic processes, such as legislative votes or executive decisions, depending on the country.
Before being officially admitted, the applicant states must also vote on the protocol that follows.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, there has been a lot of discussion and debate in and about both nations concerning their future participation in the alliance.
Prior to the conflict, public opinion in Finland was split 50-50 on whether or not to join NATO; after the invasion, support grew to roughly three-quarters.
Finland, which was originally governed by Sweden and was then a part of the Russian Empire until 1917 when it gained independence, maintained a neutral stance during the Cold War. Since the Napoleonic Wars over 200 years ago, Sweden has been known for remaining neutral.
North Macedonia, which joined NATO in 2020, is the newest member state thus far, but Bosnia and Herzegovina is also applying for admission.
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, and Slovenia joined in 2004.
The revelation that Sweden would join was hailed by Estonian politicians as “positive for the region.”