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Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato

Turkey has dropped its objections to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the North Atlantic defence alliance.

Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato
Turkey has dropped its objection to Sweden joining Nato Photo: Henrik Montgomery / TT / kod 10060

“We have reached an agreement between Sweden, Turkey and Finland, which means that Turkey now accepts that we will be granted invitee status in Nato. That’s important, as it will improve Sweden’s security,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said after a meeting in Madrid with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“It was a very long meeting and [Finland’s President] Sauli Niinistö and I could describe all the measures we in Sweden have taken regarding terrorism legislation in recent years, and now on July 1st we are tightening that legislation significantly,” Andersson added.

The process of joining Nato requires the approval of all 30 existing members. Turkey had set out a string of demands, including the extradition of what it claims are Kurdish terrorists living in Sweden and a relaxation of Sweden’s ban on selling arms to Turkey. 

In a press release, Nato said that the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland had all signed a trilateral memorandum (find copy here) which addressed “Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns”. 

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Nato leaders would as a result now be able to issue a formal invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. 

“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join Nato. Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports,
and the fight against terrorism,” he said. 

As aspiring Nato members, he added, Finland and Sweden would not give support to the PYD, the Democratic Union Party of Syria, which runs the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, and would not support the Gülen movement. 

The agreement commits Sweden and Finland to not supporting the PYD, but only classes the PKK as a terrorist organisation. Turkey has previously insisted on describing the PKK/PYD as a single entity. 

The deal also covers the export of Swedish weapons to Turkey. Sweden has not exported weapons to Turkey in recent years, a decision Turkey interprets as an arms embargo. 

“Turkey, Finland and Sweden confirm that there are no national arms embargoes between them. Sweden is changing its national regulatory framework for arms exports in relation to Nato allies,” the document reads. “In future, defence exports from Finland and Sweden will be conducted in accordance with Alliance solidarity and the letter and spirit of Article 3 of the Washington Treaty.”

“If we become Nato members, of course this will have repercussions on how we interpret Swedish weapons exports legislation,” Andersson conceded at the press conference.  

According to Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Säpo, Sweden’s security police, has drawn up a list of “at least ten” people living in Sweden with links to the Kurdish PKK terror organisation, who can be extradited to Turkey. 

According to the newspaper’s government source, two people with PKK links have already been extradited to Turkey this year, and more could follow.

However, Niinistö stressed to reporters at the press conference that the trilateral deal does not name any individuals who Turkey wants extradited. Instead the agreement commits Sweden and Finland to handling extradition requests “expeditiously and thoroughly”. 

Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, sent out a celebratory tweet shortly after the announcement. 

She said that the two countries would then start formal accession talks in Brussels next week after which Sweden would officially become a Nato invitee. 

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Sweden to set aside 30 billion kronor to lower energy bills

The Swedish government wants to introduce 'high-price protection' to lower energy bills, with state-owned energy authority Svenska Kraftnät setting aside at least 30 billion kronor of energy profits to do so.

Sweden to set aside 30 billion kronor to lower energy bills

“Today we have a very important message,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said in a press conference announcing the measures.

“We want to introduce high-cost protection for current high energy prices,” she said.

She blamed energy prices on Russian President Vladimir Putin and his war on Ukraine.

“We’re not going to let Putin hold Swedish households and businesses to ransom,” she said.

Svenska Kraftnät, a state-owned energy authority, expects to have funds of around 60 billion kronor in so-called “bottleneck income” next year.

The government wants those funds to be returned to households and businesses, with Svenska Kraftnät ordered to pay at least 30 of the 60 billion kronor back to households.

It will be up to the authority to determine how the money will be given back to consumers. According to the government, it could be used to lower energy market prices, but could also be given to consumers as direct compensation.

The goal is to provide more compensation to those companies and households hardest hit by high energy prices, meaning that the measures are likely to be aimed towards households and companies in southern Sweden.

It’s not yet clear when repayment will occur, but Energy Minister Khashayar Farmanbar said the government wants it to be “as soon as possible”. Compensation for last winter’s high energy prices was proposed in January and paid out four months later.

“It’s a repayment of those fees households and businesses have already paid, which we believe they have the right to,” Finance Minister Mikael Damberg said.

Svenska Kraftnät owns the main grid responsible for transporting electricity between different parts of Sweden. The 60 billion kronor bottleneck revenue Svenska Kraftnät is expected to earn by the end of next year is financed by so-called capacity fees paid by power companies and regional grid owners.

“Svenska Kraftnät are not supposed to be collecting piles of money,” Damberg said.

Capacity fees are levied when there are price differences between different parts of the country due to deficiencies in transmission capacity. Recently, those revenues have become unexpectedly high.

The EU’s electricity market regulations determine how the money can be used, for example, for investments, repairs, maintenance or lowering grid tariffs.

During the spring, the government has been in contact with the European Commission, which has now announced that governments may use the funds for emergency measures to benefit households and businesses.

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