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Sweden clears final hurdle to join Nato as Hungary approves accession

Hungary approves Sweden's Nato membership, marking a historic shift in Sweden's security policy and a significant expansion for the alliance.

Hungary's parliament approved Sweden's NATO accession on Monday, marking a historic shift for the Nordic country that has maintained neutrality through two world wars and the Cold War. The vote followed a visit by Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, during which an arms deal was signed between the two countries.

Kristersson hailed the day as historic, emphasizing Sweden's readiness to take on its responsibility for Euro-Atlantic security. The move comes after pressure from NATO allies on Hungary to seal Sweden's accession to the alliance.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Hungary's decision, stating that Sweden's membership will strengthen and secure the alliance. Stockholm's decision to abandon its non-alignment policy in favor of safety within NATO was prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine in 2022.

With Sweden and Finland both joining NATO, Western leaders have noted that President Vladimir Putin has effectively achieved the very outcome he sought to avoid when he launched his war in Ukraine - an expansion of the alliance. This marks the most significant expansion of NATO since its move into Eastern Europe in the 1990s.

Sweden's accession is expected to simplify defense planning and cooperation on NATO's northern flank, as the country has increased cooperation with the alliance in recent decades, contributing to operations in places such as Afghanistan. Analysts note that Sweden's membership will bring security and certainty to Northern Europe, supported by American nuclear deterrence.

In addition to its contributions, Sweden brings resources such as cutting-edge submarines tailored to Baltic Sea conditions and a fleet of domestically produced Gripen fighter jets into the alliance. The country has also increased military spending and is set to reach NATO's threshold of 2 percent of GDP this year.

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