“It feels momentous, fateful, and that we have ended up doing what I believe is best for Sweden,” Linde said as she signed the document in front of photographers in the offices of Sweden’s foreign ministry.
It has yet to be confirmed when Sweden’s ambassador to Nato, Axel Wernhoff, will pass the document to the alliance’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at its headquarters in Brussels.
Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö is currently on a state visit to Sweden, and will make a speech to the parliament at midday titled, “a responsible, strong and stable Nordic region”, before meeting Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at Adelcrantzska huset.
Here is how the Nato application process will work:
- The application is submitted in the form of a letter signed by the applicant country’s foreign minister.
- The letter is discussed by representatives of the Nato member states, probably by their Nato ambassadors at a meeting called as soon as the application comes in. Nato then takes a decision, probably the same day, to begin accession negotiations.
- The discussion will be led by Bettina Cadenbach, Nato’s deputy Secretary-General and is expected to take just one day.
- Nato publishes a report where it states that the countries meet the requirements for a Nato country, which includes a new letter from the applicant country’s foreign minister stating that the country understands the requirements and still wishes to pursue membership.
- The Nato ambassadors vote to sign an accession protocol. According to Nato, these stages should be complete within two weeks.
- When the protocol has been signed by all countries, the country becomes an “invited member” which has the right to partake in all Nato meetings, but does not yet have voting rights.
- The protocol is sent to the 30 member states for a final acceptance by their parliaments or governments. Different countries have difference requirements, with some requiring a parliamentary vote and others requiring only a decision from the government. This stage can take at least six months, but is likely to be accelerated for Finland and Sweden.
- When all countries have accepted the application, and the country’s joining Nato have voted the protocol through their parliaments and signed it, the country becomes a Nato member state.