Know more about Sweden’s rocky road from neutrality toward NATO membership

Both Finland and long-neutral Sweden anticipated a speedy NATO membership procedure when they jointly applied.Finland joined the alliance more than a year ago, but Sweden is still on the outside looking in.All current members must accept new memberships, and when NATO leaders gather in Vilnius for their summit, Sweden is missing approval from two countries: Turkey and Hungary.When Turkiye’s president decided to present NATO’s membership documents to the Turkish Parliament for approval, something he had refused to do for more than a year, a significant hurdle was removed.As a result, even if Sweden is still on the verge of joining NATO as its 32nd member, it is getting there. What you need to know about Sweden’s bumpy path to joining the alliance is provided below.The choice to join NATO was a significant one for a nation that hasn’t been at war in almost two centuries. Sweden adopted neutrality as the cornerstone of its security strategy and even its national identity, refusing to take sides during both world wars and the whole Cold War.While Stockholm modified its status to “nonaligned” after entering the European Union in 1995 and gradually strengthened cooperation with NATO, it ruled out asking for membership until last year because of strong popular opposition.
Then-Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist made the pledge that Sweden would never join NATO while his center-left Social Democrats remained in power as recently as November 2021, which was three months prior to Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.The war then broke out. Public opinion in Finland and Sweden changed as Russian tanks rumbled across the Ukrainian border and rockets attacked Kyiv and other cities. Even Hultqvist and the Social Democrats reversed course, and Sweden and Finland jointly sought for NATO membership in May of last year.Since Sweden and Finland already met the requirements for membership and the Ukraine war added urgency, most observers anticipated that their applications would be processed quickly. The accession pact was rapidly adopted by 28 NATO nations.Recep Tayyip Erdogan, however, had a different viewpoint. The banned Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, which has led a decades-long insurgency in Turkiye, is among the groups that Ankara considers as security risks, according to him, and Turkiye cannot accept the Nordic countries as NATO partners unless they crack down on them.

Leave a Reply