by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with the Prime Minister of Sweden, Ulf Kristersson, at the flag-raising ceremony to mark Sweden’s accession to NATO

  • 11 Mar. 2024 -
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  • Last updated: 11 Mar. 2024 12:27

(As delivered)

Your Royal Highness Crown Princess Victoria,
Prime Minister Kristersson,
Ladies and gentlemen,

This is an historic day.
We welcome Sweden into NATO,
at a critical time for our shared security.

In a moment, we will raise the Swedish flag here at the NATO Headquarters and across the whole Alliance for the first time.

Thirty-two flags flying together.
They represent thirty-two nations working for a common purpose:

To protect one billion people.
Prevent war.
And preserve peace.

Sweden’s membership makes NATO stronger.
Sweden safer.
And all of us more secure.

Sweden brings high-end capabilities.
First-class military forces.
And spends more than 2 percent of GDP on defence.

Sweden’s accession shows again that NATO’s door remains open.
No one can close it.

Every nation has the right to choose its own path.
And we all choose the path of freedom and democracy. 

The brave people of Ukraine are fighting for these values as we speak.

For 75 years, the transatlantic bond between Europe and North America has ensured our freedom and security.

As a friend and a Nordic neighbour, it gives me great pride that Sweden now joins us in this essential mission.

Today as we raise the Swedish flag we stand together in unity and solidarity.
Committed to protect and defend each other.
All for one, and one for all.

Prime Minister Kristersson, thank you for your personal commitment to our Alliance.
Let me also recognise former Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson for the critical role you played in applying for NATO membership.

And I am glad that you are both here with Ministers and other political leaders together with all of us today.
This reflects the broad political support for NATO in the Swedish society.

So to all Swedes, I say – velkommen til NATO.

Welcome to NATO!