The Committee on Foreign Affairs proposes that the Riksdag approve Sweden's accession to NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization), as well as the proposed legislative amendments. The Left Party and Green Party have entered reservations on the proposal.
The Committee on Foreign Affairs proposes that the Riksdag approve Sweden's accession to the North Atlantic Treaty as well as the Agreement on the Status of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). The Status Agreement regulates immunities and privileges for NATO and certain categories of staff. The Riksdag's approval of the accession is a precondition for Sweden's entry into NATO.
No nuclear weapons on Swedish territory
Sweden's application for membership of NATO has been submitted without reservation. Like the Government, the Committee stands by this position but considers like the Government that, in the same way as in other Nordic countries, there is no reason to place nuclear weapons or permanent bases on Swedish territory in peacetime.
Legislative amendments required
Amendments to two laws will be required in connection with Sweden's application to accede to NATO: the Act on Operational Military Support and the Act on Immunity and Privileges in Certain Cases. The purpose of the legislative amendments is partly to make it easier for Sweden to request support from NATO in the form of military forces and partly to give NATO, the national representatives, and international staff the immunities and privileges that are required under the agreement. The Committee supports the legislative proposals. The amendments will come into force on the date decided by the Government.
The Instrument of Government must be applied to any decisions
In connection with decisions concerning the Act on Operational Military Support, the decision must be taken by a majority of at least three-quarters, and more than half of the members of the Riksdag must vote in favour of the proposal. This is in accordance with the Instrument of Government, as the decision concerns the transfer of the exercise of public authority to another state.
The road to the Government's proposal
On 16 March 2022, the Government decided to appoint a working group for deliberations on the changed security policy situation as a result of Russia's aggression against Ukraine. The working group included members of all parties represented in the Riksdag. The conclusions were presented in the report Deterioration of the security environment - implications for Sweden. Following consultations with the Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs and a debate in the Riksdag, Sweden submitted its formal request for NATO membership on 18 May 2022.
At the NATO summit in Madrid on 29–30 June 2022, a decision was taken to invite Finland and Sweden to become members and on 5 July 2022, Finland and Sweden were granted invitee status to NATO and the accession protocols for both countries were signed by all NATO member countries. Sweden can become a member once the accession protocol has been ratified, that is, approved in accordance with national rules in all member countries and when NATO's Secretary General has invited Sweden to accede. The Riksdag's approval is required before the Government can take a final decision to accede.
NATO in brief
NATO, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an intergovernmental organisation and defence alliance between 30 member countries in Europe and North America. The member countries have mutual defence commitments towards one another and take a joint responsibility for defence planning in order to maintain peace and security within NATO.
In the opinion of the Left Party and the Green Party, NATO membership would involve a deterioration of the security environment for Sweden and increase the risk of Sweden becoming involved in wars and conflicts pursued by NATO. Sweden should therefore continue to be militarily non-aligned, with national self-determination. The parties also have views about how Sweden, as a member of NATO, should act in matters relating to nuclear weapons, democracy, increased Nordic defence cooperation and civil defence. Furthermore, the Left Party and the Green Party have opinions about how the Riksdag can gain greater influence on and insight into NATO matters.
Planned date for debate and decision
The planned date for the debate and decision is Wednesday 22 March 2023. The debate and decision will be broadcast on the Riksdag webcast service and can be viewed live or on-demand.
Webcasts (in Swedish)
Committee on Foreign Affairs report 2022/23:UU16 (in Swedish)(pdf, 511 kB)
The Committee on Foreign Affairs (in Swedish)
Contact person for the media
Britt-Marie Hartvig, Secretary to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, telephone +46 8 786 48 81, email firstname.lastname@example.org