Government has presented bill on Sweden’s membership of NATO to the Riksdag
The government bill is an important step on the path to NATO membership. The Riksdag’s approval is required for Sweden to accede to NATO.
“The Government bill on Sweden’s NATO membership is a historic event and an important step on the path towards membership,” says Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström.
When Russia launched its full-scale invasion of Ukraine on 24 February 2022, it fundamentally changed the security environment for Sweden and Europe.
“We are in the most serious security situation since the Second World War. 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. Sweden has thus applied for NATO membership with broad parliamentary support,” says Mr Billström.
By joining NATO, Sweden becomes party to the North Atlantic Treaty, which requires the Riksdag’s approval. As a member, Sweden will be expected to accede to a status of forces agreement regulating privileges and immunities for NATO and certain specific categories of personnel. This status of forces agreement requires a legislative amendment before it can be incorporated into Swedish law.
NATO is an intergovernmental organisation in which the members assume joint responsibility for collective defence so as to maintain peace and security. As a member, Sweden will contribute to the security of NATO as a whole, in the spirit of solidarity. Sweden will also be subject to the collective defence obligations incumbent on members.
Prior to adopting the bill, the Government circulated the memorandum on Sweden’s membership of NATO (Ds 2022:24) for comment. Relevant bodies and the general public have had the opportunity to comment on the proposals and assessments presented in the memorandum.
Sweden can become a member once all NATO member states have approved its Accession Protocol. The Riksdag’s approval is required before the Government can decide on accession to NATO. This approval is obtained through the bill that has now been adopted. Once Sweden’s instrument of accession has been deposited in accordance with the provisions of the North Atlantic Treaty, Sweden will become a member.
“Our future NATO membership means a new Swedish foreign and security policy identity. As a member, Sweden will fulfil its commitments under the North Atlantic Treaty and to all Allies. Sweden will be an Ally to rely on,” says Mr Billström.
History of Sweden and NATO
Sweden has collaborated with NATO within the framework of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) since 1994. In 1997, Sweden became part of the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council (EAPC). In conjunction with NATO’s 2014 Wales Summit, Sweden gained Enhanced Opportunities Partner (EOP) status. As of 5 July 2022 and until it becomes a NATO member, Sweden has invitee status.
Within the framework of its partnership with NATO, Sweden takes part in training and exercises – and has also hosted such activities – and collaborates with NATO on standardisation and capability development. Sweden has participated in NATO military operations in places such as Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya.
As an Invitee, Sweden participates in all facets of NATO operations, except for matters concerning nuclear weapons within the framework of the Nuclear Planning Group, in which only members can take part. As Invitee, Sweden does not have the right to vote.