Swedish government submits ‘historic’ Nato bill to parliament

Sweden on Wednesday set a preliminary date for parliament to vote on the government's bid to join Nato.

Swedish government submits 'historic' Nato bill to parliament
Swedish Defence Minister Pål Jonson, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Foreign Minister Tobias Billström at a press conference earlier this year. Photo: Pontus Lundahl/TT

“[This] is a historic event and an important step on the path towards membership,” said Foreign Minister Tobias Billström.

The bill will be fast-tracked, with members of parliament given five days to attach their own proposed amendments.

It will then be processed by parliament’s foreign policy committee on March 16th, and on March 22nd parliament will be able to vote on it.

Six out of Sweden’s eight parties back the proposal, which means that it should sail through without problems. Only the Left Party and the Greens are against it.

Finland and Sweden last May dropped their decades-long policies of military non-alignment and applied to join Nato in the wake of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

But a successful vote in parliament will not clear the way for Sweden, as Hungary and Turkey have yet to ratify its membership bid.


Talks with Turkey are set to resume on Thursday, after the country suspended negotiations in protest over the burning of the Quran outside its embassy in Stockholm.

Hungary is expected to vote to grant Sweden and Finland membership later this month.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Sweden’s parliament votes by huge majority in favour of Nato accession

Sweden's parliament has voted to ratify the country's accession to the Nato defence alliance, with its historic bill to end two centuries of non-alignment passing with a margin of 269 to 37.

Sweden’s parliament votes by huge majority in favour of Nato accession

During the six-hour debate over the bill, Sweden’s foreign minister, Tobias Billström, said he was convinced that the country’s membership would be ratified by Turkey and Hungary, the two hold-outs in the 30-member alliance, before the summit due to be held in Vilnius in the second week of July. 

“It is obvious that we are going to be able to be members at Vilnius,” he said during the debate, pointing to the backing of the other 28 member states and strong support from the US. “The strength that we have behind us is so tangible that it’s possible to come to such a judgement.”

If Sweden were not to be a member before the summer, he continued, it would put Nato’s open-door policy, a key part of its framework, in question. 

Only two of the eight parties in the Swedish parliament voted against the bill, the Left Party and the Green Party, with their MPs providing all of the 37 “no” votes. A further 43 MPs were absent. 

“It is problematic to join a military alliance with countries which are not democratic, and where we see daily that democracy is withering,” said Håkan Svenneling, the Left Party’s foreign policy spokesperson. “They are now trying to use our application to silence our voice on democracy and human rights.” 

The two parties were also critical of the fact that Sweden was now joining an alliance backed by nuclear weapons. 

“The Nato nuclear alliance is built on the idea of using nuclear weapons as a method of deterrence,” said the Green Party’s Jacob Risberg. “The Green Party do not believe in that doctrine, but believe quite the contrary, that this could lead to more conflict.” 

The Social Democrat’s foreign policy spokesperson Morgan Johansson said he was confident that Sweden would not be made to host nuclear weapons on its territory, even though its agreement with Nato contains no formal statement ruling this out. 

The government’s Nato proposition states that “there is no reason to have nuclear weapons or permanent bases on Swedish territory in peacetime”. 

“I feel completely confident in the test which has been drawn up. There is nothing at all pushing for Sweden to be forced to host bases or nuclear weapons,” he said.