Sweden Finally Joins NATO After Nearly 2 Years of Waiting

Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images
Andrew Caballero-Reynolds/Getty Images

Western allies rejoiced on Thursday as Sweden was finally admitted to NATO, breaking the country’s tradition of neutrality and effectively aligning itself against Russia.

“Sweden is now a NATO member,” Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson announced in a statement on X. “We will strive for unity, solidarity and burden-sharing, and will fully adhere to the Washington Treaty values: freedom, democracy, individual liberty and the rule of law. Stronger together.”

The Scandinavian nation submitted its final documents for admission in a ceremony on Thursday evening, with Kristersson and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken in attendance.

“Good things come to those who wait. No better example,” Blinken said.

Sweden has waited 20 months for this moment. It first moved to join the alliance in May 2022, alarmed by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, but its admission was stalled by Turkey and Hungary, whose leaders are on amicable terms with Vladimir Putin.

Those barriers fell away in January and February, after Sweden struck defense and counter-terrorism deals with the respective nations. The Turkish parliament ratified Sweden’s NATO bid in late January, and the Hungarian parliament followed suit in late February.

In a statement, U.S. President Joe Biden welcomed Sweden to the alliance and recalled its founding at the start of the Cold War eight decades ago.

“Today, I am honored to welcome Sweden as NATO’s 32nd Ally. 75 years ago when NATO was established, President Truman said the Alliance, ‘would create a shield against aggression and fear of aggression,’” he wrote. “That shield–and transatlantic security–is stronger than ever.”

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