Sweden Takes Step Toward Considering NATO Membership

Parliament majority favors a 'NATO option' and stronger alliance with Finland, ruling government opposes the idea

The majority of Sweden’s parliament now favors entertaining the option of joining NATO as a policy, after the right-wing Sweden Democrats party shifted its position on the alliance.

The Sweden Democrats still oppose joining NATO but want to align with neighboring Finland, whose policy leaves open a “NATO option.” If Sweden adopts the same policy, it means they would consider joining the alliance if they ever deemed it was necessary for security.

“We have long advocated entering into a defense alliance with Finland and are now taking a decisive step in that direction,” Sweden Democrat party leader Jimmie Akesson, according to Reuters. “With Sweden announcing a so-called NATO option, like Finland, we strengthen security in our immediate region.”

Sweden’s parliamentary foreign and defense affairs committees decided to bring the proposal to add a NATO option to the government next week. Despite the majority of the parliament being in favor of the idea, the government is ruled by a minority coalition that consists of two parties, the Social Democrats and Greens.

“These kinds of sudden changes based on fairly weak majorities, it’s not good. It undermines the credibility of Swedish security policy,” Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde of the Social Democrats said of the proposal.

Author: Dave DeCamp

Dave DeCamp is the assistant news editor of Antiwar.com, follow him on Twitter @decampdave.