Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats to soon reveal NATO decision

The EU’s response to the war in Ukraine shows that there is space for a European security provider in addition to NATO. The key issue is how NATO and the EU can complement each other, argue Lucia Retter and Stephanie Pezard [Shutterstock/Michal-CZ]

The ruling Social Democrats will decide on NATO on Sunday to “keep up with Finland,” party secretary Tobias Baudin has confirmed, national broadcaster SVT reported.

Baudin confirmed on Monday (9 May) that a decision will be taken on Sunday when the party board meets to report back and discuss the ongoing security policy dialogue within the party, which is due to be completed on Thursday.

“Whatever decision we take, it is just as well for the party that we take it now. We don’t see that we can wait another week or so,” Baudin said.

The review of the party’s position on membership in NATO was first scheduled for 24 May, but the pressure on the party to speed up the process has grown. Some voices in the party remain critical and consider that the Social Democrats are moving too fast on such a crucial issue.

“There are certainly some who are critical, but given the situation, we have nevertheless had a proper discussion in the party,” said Baudin, adding that “when it comes to the matter at hand, you can have opinions. And it would be strange if there weren’t.”

The security policy analysis by the parliamentary parties, led by Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist, is due on Friday (13 May).

On Saturday (14 May), the Finnish Social Democrats are expected to make a statement, and on 17 May, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö will arrive in Stockholm for a state visit.

Baudin stressed the importance of keeping the same timeline as Finland, as the countries share and cooperate on foreign and defence policy issues.

“There are advantages to keeping in step with our neighbour and close partner,” Baudin said, concluding that “waiting another week or two will not really change anything. The party board will have a well-founded proposal for a decision on Sunday when they meet.”

If the Social Democrats approve a NATO application, a vast majority of the Swedish Riksdag would be in favour of joining the Alliance as only the Left Party and the Greens and their combined 43 MPs (out of 349) would potentially oppose it.

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