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SWEDEN AND UKRAINE

New poll finds majority of Swedes in favour of joining Nato

For the first time since Nato's foundation, a slim 51 percent majority of Swedes now backs joining the security alliance, according to a new poll.

A Nato flag flies side by side next to a Swedish flag outside Sweden's foreign ministry.
A Nato flag flies side by side next to a Swedish flag outside Sweden's foreign ministry in 1996. Photo: Hans Dahlskog/TT

The poll, carried out by the Demoskop opinion research company for the Aftonbladet newspaper, showed the highest level of support for joining the security alliance ever recorded among Swedes, and follows a poll last week in neighbouring Finland which also showed public opinion shifting in favour of joining.

Both Sweden and Finland have historically been non-aligned, with Sweden remaining neutral through both world wars. 

“These are the highest numbers ever, but it is to be expected that we would see opinion shift,” Karin Nelssson, the polling company’s chief executive, told Aftonbladet.”Our own security situation has been affected and people see what happened to Ukraine, which was also not part of Nato.”

According to the poll, 27 percent are against Sweden joining the alliance, while 22 percent are still uncertain. In the company’s January poll, only 42 percent were in favour, while 37 percent were against.

The poll came a week after a poll carried out for Finnish state broadcaster Yle found that 53 percent of Finns were now in favour of joining the alliance, up from just 19 percent when the broadcaster last polled on the question in 2017.

When the respondents to the Demoskop poll who were in favour were asked why, several said they did not want to be a strategic element in Russian President Vladimir Putin’s plans to attack the west.

Many of those who were against joining were afraid that Putin might attack Sweden if Sweden did join.

“Many people see what is happening now by no one is helping Ukraine militarily,” said Nelsson. “But many are also afraid that we are not strong enough to withstand a Russian invasion.”

The poll was published as the populist Sweden Democrat party, which has long opposed Nato membership, looked close to changing its position, a shift that would mean a parliamentary majority in Sweden in favour of Nato membership.

“It’s impossible to rule out anything in this extreme security situation,” the party’s foreign affairs spokesperson Aron Emilsson told Swedish Radio.

“If it is really the case that a majority of people in Finland switch over and we see Finnish membership of Nato coming closer, that will put the question in a completely different light here.”

Senior figures in the Green Party and even in the Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats, both of whom have historically opposed Nato membership, have in recent days expressed support in joining the alliance. 

Member comments

  1. Madness , no war for seven hundred years and now Sweden who cooperated with the Nazis during the last World War , thinks Putin is more evil than Putin . You have had it too easy for too long and it would take the Russians ten days to enter Stockholm so don’t even go down that road . In addition the other Scandinavian countries that suffered the horrors of the Nazis will bomb Sweden instead with Oh I am Sorry we though it was Moscow as revenge for your antics in the last War . Oh I forgot Peter the Great of Russia was the last one to defeat Sweden and king Charles so don’t even try it .

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NATO

Sweden’s Green Party demands nuclear weapons ban

Sweden’s Green Party has called on the parliament to bring in a law outlawing nuclear weapons from Sweden’s territory in both peace and wartime. 

Sweden’s Green Party demands nuclear weapons ban

“We need to keep working towards nuclear disarmament,” the party’s joint leader, Märta Stenevi, said. 

The ban would cover all use of nuclear weapons on Swedish territory, even on visiting ships and when allies use Swedish waters or airspace. 

“We want the parliament to state its position on this demand,” Stenevi said. 

It is not enough, she said to state, as Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said she would, that Sweden does not want nuclear weapons or Nato bases on its territory, a similar situation as Denmark and Norway have had

“When you look at Denmark and Norway, those exceptions are verbal agreements,” Stenevi said.  

If Nato were to require member states to accept nuclear weapons at a later date, national law would be required for Sweden to be able to opt out, Stenevi said.

“That legislation would trump Nato’s statutes”.

Stenevi highlighted the fact that similar legislation already exists in Finland and has done for some time.

The Greens also want Sweden to remain outside Nato’s special committee for nuclear weapons.

“We think Sweden should continue to work towards nuclear disarmament,” she said. “To then sit and take part in a group pointing nuclear weapons towards specific targets is closer to legitimising their use”.

The Green Party also want Sweden to promote the “no first use” principle within Nato, which would mean that nuclear weapons can never be used unless a nuclear power had already been attacked with nuclear weapons first.

Finally, they write in their motion that they want Sweden to promote the respect for democratic values within Nato, as well as the introduction of a “democracy requirement” within the alliance.

“You just need to look at the last 24 hours to see clear evidence of Turkey making requirements and expecting Sweden to adapt their foreign policy to what fits the Turkish regime and not what Sweden decide is independently correct and right.” Stenevi said.

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