Sweden presents NATO membership bill to Riksdag

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson address a joint press conference in Stockholm on March 7, 2023, following a meeting with all Swedish party leaders who are in favor of a Swedish NATO membership. (Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP via Getty Images)

The Swedish government presented its NATO membership bill to the Riksdag on Wednesday, saying it was another important step on the road to joining the western alliance. 

“Becoming a member of NATO is the best way to safeguard Sweden’s security and, in the spirit of solidarity, contribute to strengthening the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic area,” Tobias Billstrom, Sweden’s Foreign Affairs Minister said in a news release. 

The government said the bill proposes the Riksdag approve the agreement and its incorporation into Swedish law. Once the body has approved it, the government can go ahead with Sweden’s accession to the alliance. 

The move came on the second day of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s two-day trip to Stockholm.

Finland and Sweden made the decision to join NATO in 2022 after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and stressed the desire to enter together. 

Turkey, Hungary delaying process

NATO approved their applications and the accession protocols for both countries were signed on July 5. 

Of the alliance’s 30 member countries, 28 ratified the protocols, with Turkey and Hungary the only holdouts. 

A file photo of Sweden’s Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom, (John MacDougall/AFP via Getty)

Turkey has not yet given a date when it expects to approve the Nordic countries’ memberships.  Ankara says Finland, and particularly Sweden, harbour Kurdish militants that are wanted in Turkey

Hungary’s stalling has been attributed to past criticism of Budapest’s rule of law and commitment to democracy. Hungary recently said it will ratify the protocols but has not given a date. 

Turkey has not yet given a date when it expects to approve the Nordic countries’ memberships.  Ankara says Finland, and particularly Sweden, harbour Kurdish militants that are wanted in Turkey. 

Thursday meeting with Turkey 

Stoltenberg has convened a meeting March 9  between Turkey, Sweden and Finland at NATO headquarters in Brussels. 

“Sweden and Finland’s membership will make our Alliance stronger with highly capable forces, an advanced defence industry, and years of experience training and operating together with Allies.” Stoltenberg said in a news release on Wednesday. 

“It is inconceivable that NATO would not act if your security was threatened.”

Finland’s parliament approved the country’s NATO membership on March 1 with a vote of  184-7.

Write to Eilís Quinn at eilis.quinn@cbc.ca 

Related stories from around the North: 

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Finland: Russian shoppers take Norway’s Schengen shortcut to Arctic Finland, Yle News

Greenland: Historic Hans Island agreement with Canada moves from Copenhagen to Greenland, Eye on the Arctic

Iceland: Climate, integration & Arctic among priorities in Iceland’s Nordic Council of Ministers program, Eye on the Arctic

Norway: NATO will make us stronger, says Nordic defense chiefs, The Independent Barents Observer

Russia: Moscow lowers ambitions in nuclear icebreaker program, The Independent Barents Observer

United States: U.S. nominates Alaskan as first Arctic ambassador, Eye on the Arctic

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