Prime Minister Andersson has officially told press that Sweden will request to join NATO, officially submitting application documents to Brussels, and dispatching an official overture to Turkey, the largest member roadblock to accession.
Today, the Swedish Advisory Council on Foreign Affairs met to discuss the announcement at the Royal Palace in Stockholm, after the Swedish Parliament approved the motion to request application. The three hour deliberation led to the approval for the Council and the PM to submit the application to NATO headquarters.
According to NATO, the accession process is as follows:
“Once the Allies have decided to invite a country to become a member of NATO, they officially invite the country to begin accession talks with the Alliance. This is the first step in the accession process on the way to formal membership. The major steps in the process are:
1. Accession talks with a NATO team
These talks take place at NATO Headquarters in Brussels and bring together teams of NATO experts and representatives of the individual invitees. Their aim is to obtain formal confirmation from the invitees of their willingness and ability to meet the political, legal and military obligations and commitments of NATO membership, as laid out in the Washington Treaty and in the Study on NATO Enlargement.
The talks take place in two sessions with each invitee. In the first session, political and defence or military issues are discussed, essentially providing the opportunity to establish that the preconditions for membership have been met. The second session is more technical and includes discussion of resources, security, and legal issues as well as the contribution of each new member country to NATO’s common budget. This is determined on a proportional basis, according to the size of their economies in relation to those of other Alliance member countries.
Invitees are also required to implement measures to ensure the protection of NATO classified information, and prepare their security and intelligence services to work with the NATO Office of Security.
The end product of these discussions is a timetable to be submitted by each invitee for the completion of necessary reforms, which may continue even after these countries have become NATO members.
2. Invitees send letters of intent to NATO, along with timetables for completion of reforms
In the second step of the accession process, each invitee country provides confirmation of its acceptance of the obligations and commitments of membership in the form of a letter of intent from each foreign minister addressed to the NATO Secretary General. Together with this letter they also formally submit their individual reform timetables.
3. Accession protocols are signed by NATO countries
NATO then prepares Accession Protocols to the Washington Treaty for each invitee. These protocols are in effect amendments or additions to the Treaty, which once signed and ratified by Allies, become an integral part of the Treaty itself and permit the invited countries to become parties to the Treaty.
4. Accession protocols are ratified by NATO countries
The governments of NATO member states ratify the protocols, according to their national requirements and procedures. The ratification procedure varies from country to country. For example, the United States requires a two-thirds majority to pass the required legislation in the Senate. Elsewhere, for example in the United Kingdom, no formal parliamentary vote is required.
5. The Secretary General invites the potential new members to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty
Once all NATO member countries notify the Government of the United States of America, the depository of the Washington Treaty, of their acceptance of the protocols to the North Atlantic Treaty on the accession of the potential new members, the Secretary General invites the new countries to accede to the Treaty.
6. Invitees accede to the North Atlantic Treaty in accordance with their national procedures
7. Upon depositing their instruments of accession with the US State Department, invitees formally become NATO members”
The United Kingdom, the United States and the Baltic States have pledged to provide security guarantees during this lengthy process. These security guarantees serve to provide a stop gap for the Article 5 assurances allotted to actual members, but prevent applying states from being pressured. This is especially relevant considering the Russian Federation has already moved a battalion of Iskander ballistic missiles to the Finnish border near Vyborg in a show of protest.