Swedish lawmakers overwhelmingly voted Wednesday in favor of Sweden joining NATO, signing off on the country’s membership along with the required legislation, writes apnews.com.
The 349-seat parliament authorized Sweden’s accession to NATO in a 269-37 vote, with 43 lawmakers absent. It was the last required domestic hurdle to the country becoming part of the 30-member Western military alliance.
6 of the 8 parties represented in parliament were in favor of NATO membership, and the vote that followed a nearly seven-hour debate was seen as a formality.
“Membership in NATO is the best way to safeguard Sweden’s security”, - Foreign Minister Tobias Billström said during the deliberations. He called it “a historic event” and “one of the most important security policy decisions ever for our country”.
Speaking of the timetable for Sweden’s possible accession, Billström told lawmakers during the debate that “it goes without saying that we will be able to become members in Vilnius”, the Lithuanian capital, where a NATO summit is to be held in July.