Stockholm May 16 2022: Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson is giving a press conference in Stockholm.
She begins by confirming that Sweden will apply for Nato membership, upending a long history of military neutrality.
The PM adds that she is confident that there is support for this among the Swedish people.
she says that Sweden will be in a vulnerable position while its Nato application is being processed.
She adds that people can have a different opinion about joining Nato and still care about Sweden.
Last week, the UK signed security pacts with both Sweden and Finland, agreeing to come to their aid should either nation come under attack.
A date for the formal application is still unclear because Sweden will send in its application together with Finland, she says.
She adds that she does not see any direct military threat against Sweden yet.
Ulf Kristersson, leader of the opposition Moderate party, is also speaking at the press conference.
He also backs the decision to apply for Nato membership.
"This is a historic decision", he says.
It's not about party politics but about taking joint responsibility for the country's security, he adds.
It’s rare to see Sweden’s two largest parties holding a joint news conference, and in such agreement, especially just months before a general election.
But Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Ulf Kristersson, leader of the largest opposition party, the centre-right Moderates, clearly wanted to send out a message that Sweden is united when it comes to its Nato application.
Andersson suggested it was the end of an era for her country and said she was confident that the Swedish public supported her decision.
Kristersson argued it wasn’t a time for party politics, but couldn’t contain his excitement that a policy his party has been pushing for for two decades is finally coming into fruition.
Their news conference followed a three-hour special debate in the Swedish parliament earlier on Monday.
There wasn’t a vote, but this was an important chance for opposition parties to express their views before the government’s final decision on Nato membership.
Although most offered strong support for the decision, the Left Party and the Greens remain opposed to the application.