Swedish flag raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels

LONDON, March 12: The Swedish flag was raised outside NATO headquarters in Brussels on Monday, marking the Nordic country’s entry into the alliance as its 32nd member.

NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described it as “a historic day” at a press conference in Brussels following Sweden’s ratification.

“After over 200 years of non-alignment, Sweden now enjoys the protection granted under Article 5, the ultimate guarantee of Allies’ freedom and security,” Stoltenberg said, adding that Sweden’s entry benefits both the country and the alliance’s security.

“Sweden has come home,” said Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, while thanking Stoltenberg for his support throughout the process.

“Sweden is now part of NATO – a proud member and ally, together with our closest friends and partners,” he said.

“We are humble but also proud. We know that expectations for Sweden are high. And we have high expectations of ourselves,” Kristersson added.

For Sweden, this marks the end of a nearly two-year wait that began in May 2022 when the Nordic country submitted its application to join the Western military alliance alongside neighbouring Finland, just three months after the war in Ukraine began.