Opposition approves Nato joint training

Opposition approves Nato joint training
The opposition Social Democrats have said Sweden should ramp up its cooperation with Nato, by allowing the Swedish Armed Forces (Försvarsmakten) to train with its rapid response unit.

“These are advanced training exercises that we can’t do ourselves in Sweden,” shadow defence minister Peter Hultqvist told Sveriges Television (SVT).

“It would also mean we cooperate with Nato at the same level as Finland, which also has military neutrality.”

The Finnish military is already part of Nato’s rapid response unit, and therefore have the right to partake in joint training exercises.

Foreign Minister Carl Bildt welcomed the decision.

“It gives us the possibility to take part in more training exercices in Europe and nearby areas, which are important for us to develop the capacity of our military,” he told the TT news agency.

Bildt added that the centre-right government and the opposition Social Democrats have long held discussions about the possibility of joining the elite Nato unit.

“I think it’s good that the Social Democrats have come to the right conclusion, although it’s taken a while,” Bildt said.

The government and its opposition colleagues in parliament have a tradition of jointly discussing defence policy in order to ensure the sustainability of any reform.

The other parties in parliament called the move on Wednesday a back-door entry to Nato, however, provoking nothing but scorn from the foreign minister.

“They’re talking gibberish,” he said.

TT/The Local/at

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