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Speech by Ulf Kristersson

Speech by Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson at ceremony in Brussels to mark Sweden joining NATO


Brussels, March 11, 2024.

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Since Thursday last week Sweden is a proud member of NATO. The most successful organisation for peace and security that has ever existed. We are now an ally amongst allies. After more than 200 years of military non-alignment, this is a historic step. 

But also, a very natural step. We have been preparing for decades. And in details the last two years. With this membership, Sweden has come home. 

Home to the security cooperation of democracies. Home to the security cooperation of our good neighbours. 

Today, I’d like to say thank you to all of our Allies. We have chosen you, and you have chosen us. All for one, one for all. 

We are humble but we are also proud. We know that the expectations for Sweden are high. And we have high expectations for ourselves.


The Swedish flag will now be raised here at NATO HQ with a very strong support in our parliament and among our people. A symbol of this is the fact that the Swedish delegation today consists not only by cabinet ministers and the Commander-in-chief, but also by Her Royal Highness the Swedish Crown Princess Victoria, and all together six national party leaders.

In a vibrant democracy we argue and debate – but we unite in the long-term protection of our freedom and democracy.


Sweden is not a stranger to NATO. We joined the Partnership for Peace in 1994 and have participated in all major NATO operations and in countless exercises since then. 

The Russian brutal full-scale invasion against Ukraine united Sweden behind the conclusion that a full-fledged NATO-membership is the only reasonable choice.

As a strong democracy, Sweden will stand up for the values in the Washington Treaty: freedom, democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law - values that bind us together. 


Sweden joins NATO because we believe in the importance of collective defence. But we also join NATO to be a security provider, from the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea. 

Throughout our 30 years of partnership, we have demonstrated a strong capacity to act together with NATO. Our territory is located at the crossroads of Northern Europe. And we are ready to do our part all across the Euro-Atlantic area. 

We bring with us some unique capabilities. Our Armed Forces are modern and well trained – on land, in air, at sea. They will bolster NATO's capabilities. Now we will integrate even deeper. We will learn and we will teach. 

Sweden is fully committed to NATO's role in the fight against terrorism and we bring a long and strong tradition of successful trans-Atlantic cooperation. 

We know the importance of safeguarding a strong national defence. We are doubling our defence budget, and since January 1st Sweden meets the NATO standard of 2 per cent of GDP to defence spending. 

This is one important element in contributing to NATO’s security and burden-sharing. We also increase the number of conscripts; we strengthen civil defence and we reintroduce civilian service. 

In addition, we will also take part of the intensified work on innovation and emerging technologies. Sweden's defence industrial base is an asset with unique technological edge. The interface between civilian technology innovation and military applications has never been more important.


Sweden will be a safer country in NATO, and NATO will be a stronger alliance with Sweden in it.

By joining NATO, Sweden – like Finland just before us – has exercised our right to freely choose our own security arrangements. 

That invaluable right is at the core of the European security order - so bravely being defended in Ukrainian battlefields, as we meet here in Brussels.

Or – as the US president Joe Biden put it – when Finland joined Nato: “Putin wanted a Finlandisation of Ukraine, but he got a Natofication of Finland”. And now of Sweden.

Sweden joining NATO is not the end of something - it’s a beginning. I look forward to help making the world a safer and freer place together with all of our Allies.

Thank you.