Sweden’s prime minister has said she “does not rule out” the possibility of seeking NATO membership due to the Russian invasion of Ukraine, although she has so far insisted that Sweden would stay out of a military coalition.
“I do not rule out NATO membership in any way,” Magdalena Anderson said in an interview with public television station SVT.
“I want to analyze in depth the opportunities we have, the threats and the risks, in order to make the best decision for Sweden,” he added.
Sweden is not a member of NATO, but cooperates with it and abandoned the line of strict neutrality after the end of the Cold War. On February 24, the day of the invasion of Ukraine, Magdalena Anderson ruled out the possibility of joining NATO, saying that “in such a situation it is crucial that Sweden’s security policy remains unchanged.” On March 8, he provoked reactions when he said that Sweden’s candidacy could “destabilize” the security of northern Europe. Russia is adamantly opposed to Sweden or Finland joining NATO.
According to several polls released in early March, about 50% of Swedes are in favor of membership. The percentage of those who disagree fell around 25-30%.
The issue is expected to be at the heart of the campaign for the September 11th parliamentary elections. Conservative opposition leader Ulf Christerson has already announced that he will apply for membership if he secures a majority in parliament. Sweden’s far-right Democrats (SD) are also open to the idea of membership, while Anderson’s Social Democratic Party has traditionally disagreed with such a possibility.
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