Sweden ended two centuries of military non-alignment: Parliament approved the country’s entry into NATO

The speaker of the Swedish Parliament, Andreas Norlén, during the vote on Sweden’s accession to NATO, in Stockholm, Sweden, March 22, 2023. REUTERS/TT News Agency/Anders Wiklund (TT NEWS AGENCY/)

He The Riksdag (Swedish Parliament) approved this Wednesday by 269 votes in favor and 37 against the entry of this Nordic country into NATOa historic decision that puts an end to two centuries of military non-alignment.

The long-awaited decision had the support of six of the eight groups with parliamentary representation and only the Environmental Party and the Socialist Left Party voted against.

The entry into NATO of Sweden, together with that of Finland, is motivated by the Russian military intervention in Ukraine and it was approved at the June 2022 Alliance summit in Madrid, after Turkey lifted its veto at the last minute in exchange for certain conditions, embodied in an agreement.

Twenty-eight of the thirty member countries have subsequently ratified that agreement, with Turkey and Hungary failing to do so.

But while Ankara and Budapest have recently given the green light to Finland’s entry, in the absence of a vote in their respective chambers, they have not done the same with Sweden, especially Turkey, which maintains the veto on Stockholm.

Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, assured last Friday that negotiations with Sweden would continue and reproached him for not extraditing people that Ankara considers linked to terrorist organizations, especially from the Kurdish sphere.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (left) and Oscar Stenstroem, chief negotiator in the NATO membership process, hold a news conference about membership in Stockholm on March 14, 2023. (Fredrik Sandberg /TT News Agency via AP)
Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson (left) and Oscar Stenstroem, chief negotiator in the NATO membership process, hold a news conference about membership in Stockholm on March 14, 2023. (Fredrik Sandberg /TT News Agency via AP) (Fredrik Sandberg / TT /)

Talks between the three countries had been interrupted more than a month earlier by Ankara after a pro-Kurdish group carried out a symbolic execution of Erdogan in Stockholm and the burning of the Koran by a far-right outside its embassy in the Swedish capital.

The Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billström, assured last Friday that his government will not take any additional measures to what was agreed in Madrid and that when new anti-terrorism legislation is expected to be approved on June 1, the “last piece of the puzzle” will have been fitted. ”.

The Swedish government is confident that NATO membership will be formalized at the Alliance summit in July in Vilnius, although the Social Democratic opposition, which began the accession process in 2022 and voted in favor today, was skeptical and urged the Executive not to take anything for granted.

During a previous debate of more than six hours held this Wednesday, the two parties that voted against the motion criticized the fact that a referendum on the matter had not been held, a possibility that the previous Social Democratic government rejected months ago.

The Hungarian Parliament will vote on Finland’s accession to NATO

The Hungarian Parliament will vote on the entry of Finland into NATO on March 27, a move announced the same day that the President of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, gave the green light to the entry of the Nordic country into the Atlantic Alliance, after months delay.

Hungary and Turkey are the only two NATO member states that have not endorsed the membership of Finland and Sweden to the bloc and, in the Hungarian case, the parliamentary vote has suffered several postponements, the last of which was known just a few days ago.

However, coinciding with Erdogan’s confirmation that the Turkish Parliament will ratify Finland’s entry soon, the ruling formation in Hungary, Fidesz, has announced that the Hungarian legislators will pronounce on March 27. The announcement, shared by the government spokesman, Zoltan Kovacs, only refers to Finland and leaves out Sweden.

“The Hungarian Parliament is sovereign and answers only to the people. Therefore, we will not give in to pressure that arrive from liberal NGOs abroad in relation to when and how Parliament should pass a law”, he warned.

With the approval of the two remaining countries, Finland will have a free hand to become the 31st State of the Atlantic Alliance.

(With information from EFE)

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