Just after 10 o'clock today, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was able to stand for a photo with Foreign Minister Ann Linde (S) and her Finnish colleague Pekka Haavisto and the ambassadors of the 30 NATO countries.

"A historic occasion"

By then, everyone had signed the Swedish and Finnish accession protocols, which now gives the two countries the status of "prospective members" - "invitees" in NATO English.

-This is really a historic opportunity for Finland, Sweden and NATO.

And for our shared security, Stoltenberg explained at the start of the meeting.

"Extremely grateful"

Sweden and Finland also had to say a few short words at the beginning.

-Together we will be stronger, Haavisto stated, among other things.

-We are extremely grateful for all the strong support that our application has received from the members, Linde said.

This paves the way for the ratification process, as all NATO countries must approve accession also at home, in the various parliaments.

Only when this has been done, and the accession protocol has been archived in the right place in Washington, will Sweden and Finland become full members of the military alliance.

Several countries, not least in the Nordic and Baltic countries, are expected to compete to be the first to ratify the new memberships.

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Photo: TT / Niclas Berglund / SVT