Sweden's Social Democrats to decide on Nato membership on May 15th

TT/AFP/The Local
TT/AFP/The Local - [email protected]
Sweden's Social Democrats to decide on Nato membership on May 15th
Social Democrat press secretary Tobias Baudin in a press conference on May 9th. Photo: Lars Schröder/TT

Social Democrat press secretary Tobias Baudin confirmed in a press conference on Monday morning that the party will make an official decision on whether to join Nato or not on Sunday May 15th.


“We’ve come to the conclusion that we will make a decision on our security policy on the 15th May,” Baudin said.

Previously, the party has said it might make a decision on Nato on Sunday, but now Baudin has confirmed that it will definitely do so.
A decision in favour of joining would in all likelihood pave the way for Sweden to submit an application for Nato membership.
If the Social Democrats support joining, there would be a clear parliamentary majority for an application, especially if Finland - where a decision is also expected in the coming days - were also to submit an application.
On May 12th, Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö will make a statement on his view on Finland joining the alliance, and on May 14th, the Social Democrats in Finland - Finland's ruling party - will hold a party meeting to decide whether Finland should submit an application.

On May 17th, Niinistö will make a state visit to Stockholm.


This is one of the reasons behind the timing for the Swedish Social Democrats’ comment on Nato, Baudin says.

“There are advantages of keeping up the same pace as our neighbours and close allies,” he said. “It’s better to make a decision on Sunday than wait another week or so. We can make a well-founded decision on Sunday”.

Baudin said to public broadcaster SVT on how party districts felt towards Nato membership that "it's not as if they've ticked 'yes' or 'no'. It's more weighing up both sides of the decision and sending their comments," he said.

"I understand that many are focusing on the question of Nato, but there are other questions which also need attention, not least foreign policy," Baudin continued.

"The shared decision is that the majority think it's good if we can make a decision on Sunday. Waiting one or two weeks won't actually change anything. Party leadership will have a well-founded proposal for a decision on Sunday when they meet," he continued.

Sweden and Finland have been militarily non-aligned for decades, but public opinion in both countries has shifted following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, with support for membership soaring, according to polls.

Sweden's centre-left Social Democrats, led by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, has historically opposed NATO membership, and even reaffirmed this stance at the last party congress in November.

But the conflict in Ukraine has reignited debate in the country and within the party.

Both Sweden and Finland have close ties with the alliance, joining the Partnership for Peace Program in 1994 and regularly taking part in exercises with NATO countries and NATO-led peacekeeping missions.


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