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Sweden's road to Nato: Key dates in crucial week

TT/The Local
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Sweden's road to Nato: Key dates in crucial week
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg at a press conference last year. Photo: Wiktor Nummelin/TT

It's an important week for Sweden's Nato application, with talks with Turkey set to resume on Thursday. Here are the key events this week.


Tuesday, March 7th: Hungarian delegation in Stockholm

A delegation of Hungarian parliamentarians are in Sweden to meet parliamentary speaker Andreas Norlén and a group of Swedish MPs to discuss Hungary’s process of ratifying Sweden’s application to join the military alliance.

Sweden and Finland have both criticised Hungary’s flawed rule of law, and one of the Hungarian politicians taking part in the meeting told TT they wanted Sweden to show more “respect”.

Hungary’s Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has previously said that some of this colleagues are reluctant to accept Sweden due to their alleged “lies” about Hungary, but he has also urged his party, Fidesz, to vote yes in their planned vote on March 20th.

Tuesday, March 7th: Nato chief to meet Swedish party leaders

Nato secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg is set to meet Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson.

Kristersson has also invited the leaders of Sweden’s pro-Nato parties – which excludes the Greens and Left Party – to join his meeting with the Nato chief.

Social Democrat leader Magdalena Andersson has criticised Kristersson for not inviting all parties. He on the other hand has argued that they receive information about Sweden’s Nato application in other ways, for example through parliament’s foreign policy committee.


Wednesday, March 8th: Defence minister summit

Swedish Defence Minister Pål Jonson will host an informal meeting of his EU counterparts at Arlanda Airport. They are mainly expected to discuss military support of Ukraine, but Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications may also get a mention.

Nato chief Stoltenberg is also set to attend.

Thursday, March 9th: Nato talks resume with Turkey

Turkey is set to resume Nato talks with Sweden and Finland, after putting them on hold following a series of protests in Stockholm earlier this year, including a pro-Kurdish group burning an Erdogan effigy and a far-right extremist burning a copy of the Quran.

Sweden’s chief Nato negotiator Oscar Stenström is set to meet his counterparts in Brussels to go through whether or not the countries are fulfilling the terms of the agreement they signed at a Nato summit last summer to get Turkey to drop its veto.

No major decisions are expected on Thursday, but merely the fact that the process is restarting increases the chances of Sweden joining Nato this summer.

Thursday, March 9th: New terror bill

The Swedish government has on several occasions said that it’s preparing new terror legislation, in response to Turkey’s criticism that Sweden is not doing enough to crack down on PKK members in the country. The PKK, or Kurdistan Workers’ Party, is listed as a terror group by Turkey and its Western allies.

A vote on a bill that would ban taking part in terror organisations could become an important step of Sweden’s Nato accession. Despite criticism from Sweden’s Council on Legislation, the government is expected to submit the bill to parliament on Thursday.

If parliament approves the bill, it would come into force on June 1st.


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