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READER INSIGHTS

Majority of foreigners in Sweden would aid defence struggle: reader survey

As many as three quarters of foreigners living in Sweden would be willing to participate in Sweden's defence if the country were invaded, according an (admittedly self-selecting and unscientific) survey of The Local's readers.

A volunteer runs an emergency food store during an exercise run by Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency.
A volunteer runs an emergency food store during an exercise run by Sweden's Civil Contingencies Agency. Photo: Civil Contingencies Agency

Of the 184 people who responded to The Local’s survey, a full 23 percent said they would even be willing to defend their adopted country, in “a combat role which puts your life at risk”, while 16.7 percent said they would be willing to risk their life for the country, but only in a non-combat role.

“I would gladly fight for this country and its citizens and residents,” said Edith Betancourt, a reader from Mexico. “Sweden welcomed me when I needed to find finally a place to call home.”

Under the Sweden’s total defence law, everyone aged 16-70 living in Sweden has a legal duty to help defend the country, even if they are not Swedish citizens, although only Swedish citizens can join the volunteer Home Guard.

It is important to underline the fact that the current risk of invasion is low. Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson stressed in her address to the nation last week that there was no “immediate threat of an armed attack” against Sweden. 

In addition, Swedish military strategists argue that with most of Russia’s army now fully engaged in Ukraine, an attack would be almost impossible

Others were less enthusiastic, however, with many admitting that they planned to leave the country as soon as possible if they felt there was a real risk of attack. 

“We’ve had a discussion about what we would do if there was a threat present,” said one American respondent with a Swedish live-in boyfriend. “I would go back to the States immediately, but he’d likely stay here. It’s not an optimal set up, but I don’t LOVE Sweden. I’m not willing to die for a country I don’t feel particularly welcome in.”

A further 35 percent of respondents said they would be willing to defend Sweden in “a non-combat role which does not put your life at risk”.

When the Swedish Defence Research Agency carried out a survey of 2,200 Swedish residents for Statistics Sweden, they found that 84 percent would be willing to help defend the country.

Some 49 percent willing to do so in a combat role that risked their lives, and 77 percent in a non-combat role that risked their lives.

You can read the full results of our survey here

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NATO

Turkey forms ‘permanent committee’ to assess Swedish Nato deal

Turkey on Thursday said a new "permanent committee" would meet Finnish and Swedish officials in August to assess if the two nations are complying with Ankara's conditions to ratify their Nato membership bids.

Turkey forms 'permanent committee' to assess Swedish Nato deal

Finland and Sweden dropped their history of military non-alignment and announced plans to join Nato after Russia invaded Ukraine at the end of
February. All 30 Nato members must ratify the accession.

Nato member Turkey has demanded the extradition of dozens of suspected “terrorists” from both countries under an accession deal the three signed last month.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has threatened to “freeze” the process over Sweden and Finland’s failure to extradite the suspects.

He accuses them of providing a haven for outlawed Kurdish militants. “If these countries are not implementing the points included in the
memorandum that we signed, we will not ratify the accession protocol,” Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu reaffirmed in a televised interview.

He said the committee would meet in August but provided no details.Turkey’s parliament has broken for its summer recess and will not be able
to hold a ratification vote before October. Some Turkish officials have warned that the process may drag out until next year.

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