Sweden Democrats give leader green light to back Nato membership

The leader of the populist Sweden Democrats party has been given a mandate by his party to push for Nato membership, meaning there is now a majority in parliament in favour of joining.

Sweden Democrats give leader green light to back Nato membership
Sweden Democrats leader appears at a pub in Malmö last week. Photo. Johan Nilsson/TT

The party called a special meeting of its decision-making committee on Monday morning and shortly after midday, the committee gave Jimmie Åkesson, the party’s leader, a mandate to seek Nato membership for Sweden. 

“We are not making this shift in our position without due consideration, but we have been in contact with The Finns, our sister party in Finland, who have also come to the same conclusion,” Aron Emilsson, the party’s foreign policy spokesperson told the Expressen newspaper. “Our assessment is that the timetable presented by the Social Democrats is far too slow.” 

Åkesson told the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper’s new political podcast on Sunday that he now believed Sweden should join Nato if Finland decided to do so, something which he predicted could happen within weeks. 

“If Finland were to push forward very rapidly — some people are talking about June — that really brings the issue to a crunch,” he said. “Then, in my judgement, we need to start this process as soon as possible.” 

READ ALSO: How soon could Sweden apply to join Nato?

If Åkesson uses his new mandate to push for Nato membership, it will mean a majority in the Swedish parliament in favour of joining the security organisation for the first time. 

The Sweden Democrats’ decision came as the ruling Social Democrats launched a “security politics dialogue” with members aimed at having “a proper discussion” on the Nato questions, and also spreading knowledge within the party about the pros and cons of Sweden’s different security choices. 

The party’s secretary, Tobias Baudin, said that the dialogue would take place “with haste”, and would be complete before the summer.  

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Swedish delegation to travel to Turkey next week for Nato talks

An official Swedish delegation will travel to Turkey at the start of next month for talks about Sweden’s Nato application.

Swedish delegation to travel to Turkey next week for Nato talks

Turkish news outlets have reported that a delegation from Sweden’s Ministry of Justice will be in Turkey October 5th-6th, and that the scheduled talks will deal with “the extradition of criminal terrorists” from Sweden to Turkey. The Ministry of Justice confirmed to TT that this meeting would take place, and that it would involve senior officials rather than ministers.

Turkey has demanded that people it describes as “terrorist suspects” be extradited from Sweden and Finland. The Swedish government maintains that Swedish citizens cannot be extradited. Further, the Swedish government has pointed out that Swedish law, which applies in Sweden, is applied by an independent court system.

While non-Swedish citizens can be extradited, this can only happen when the extradition is in line with Swedish law and the European Convention on Extradition.

Sweden’s outgoing foreign minister Ann Linde said on Tuesday that the Nato talks with Turkey were “moving along nicely”. 

“My judgement is that Turkey will say ‘yes’ to Swedish Nato membership, however, I do not know when that will be,” she said.

An agreement was signed in Madrid this June by Turkey, Sweden, and Finland, which has also submitted an application for Nato membership. Under that agreement, Turkey lifted its objections to the two countries’ Nato applications. Among the topics covered in that agreement were terrorism, arms exports, and extraditions.

Moderate Party leader Ulf Kristersson has said he will keep Oscar Stenström, the diplomat appointed by the Social Democrats to lead Sweden’s Nato process, in place when he takes over as Sweden’s new Prime Minister later this month. 

Only two of Nato’s 30 members have still to ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession: Turkey and Hungary.