Sweden to apply to join NATO, says PM Andersson
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Monday announced the official decision to start the process of the country's application to become a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
"It is clear that there is a broad majority in Sweden's parliament for Sweden to join NATO," Andersson said during a press conference.
"We leave one era and go into another. We will inform NATO that we want to become a member of the alliance," she said.
According to Andersson, Sweden's NATO ambassador in Brussels will submit the country's NATO application within the next few days. The application will be submitted together with Finland.
The government has also decided on a bill that will make it possible for Sweden to receive military support from all European Union and NATO countries, she added.
On Sunday, Sweden's ruling Social Democratic Party (SAP) granted support for the country's NATO membership application, marking a fundamental change in the party's position as a staunch opponent of military alignment.
However, the SAP's decision drew criticisms and concerns in the country.
"Through this decision, Sweden contributes to making the world more militarized and polarized. A NATO membership does not make Sweden or the world more secure or democratic – rather the opposite," Agnes Hellstrom, chairman of the Swedish Peace and Arbitration Society, wrote in a statement.
Swedish Social Democratic Youth Union chairman Lisa Nabo said in a statement that the union demands the government "guarantee a Sweden free of nuclear weapons, a nuclear-weapon-free zone across the Nordic region and that foreign military bases are never established in Sweden."