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.”
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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.