“Membership in NATO is the best way to guarantee Sweden’s security and contribute in solidarity to the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic space,” Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billström told parliament in a debate before the vote.
Among the NATO countries, only Turkey and Hungary have not approved the requests of Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.
On Friday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan asked the parliament to vote on Finland’s application to join NATO, expressing the hope that the parliament will ratify Finland’s application for NATO membership before the Turkish presidential and parliamentary elections on May 14.
Ankara’s support for Sweden’s NATO membership will depend on Stockholm’s response to Turkey’s demands, including the repatriation of 120 people Turkey considers “terrorists,” Erdogan said.
In Hungary, the parliamentary vote on Finland’s application to join NATO will take place on March 27, but Sweden’s application will be decided later.
If Sweden’s negotiations with Turkey on joining NATO take a long time, Sweden may end up in a relatively less secure military situation in the Baltic Sea region, several Swedish security experts admit.