Both countries claim the security environment has ‘changed’ after Russia’s invasion
Andersson told Swedish outlet SvD that her party, the Swedish Social Democrats, had made a decision on “the NATO issue,” with party informants telling the outlet that the plan is to submit its application at the June 29 NATO meeting in Madrid. Any application would require 75% support in the legislature.
“This is an important time in history,” said Andersson, speaking alongside her Finnish counterpart on Wednesday. “The security landscape has completely changed.”
- Sweden’s Priime Minister Magdalena Andersson announces during a digital press conference that Sweden will lift nearly all Covid-19 restrictions on February 9th, in Stockholm. (Marko Säävälä/TT via AP)
“We have to think about what is the best for Sweden for our security and peace.”
The decision occurs on the same day that Finland will release its white paper assessment of the changing security environment due to the Ukraine-Russo War. The assessment will not support or reject NATO membership, but will serve as a starting point for debate on the issue, the Finnish Foreign Ministry said.
But Finish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that the country will decide on NATO membership in “weeks rather than months” during Wednesday’s press conference, according to Euro News.
“The difference between being a [NATO] partner and being a member is very clear, and will remain so. There’s no other way to have security guarantees than under NATO’s deterrence and common defense as guaranteed by NATO’s article five,” Marin said. She called NATO “an important part of Europe’s political and security architecture.”
Marin stressed that there was no set timeline but that “everything has changed with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.”
“All the parliamentary groups and also the president will have the opportunity to make the decision in the upcoming weeks,” Marin said.
Recent polls in Finland discovered national attitudes on the issue shifted dramatically, with support to join NATO jumping from 26% in 2021 to 60% following the invasion – the first time support breached the 50% threshold since Finnish Business and Policy Forum EVA started collecting data in the 1980s.
“The change in attitudes observed in the survey is a result of the Finns’ reaction to the change in their security environment, which seems to have left the old security policy philosophy, which had dominated in Finland for many years, without a foundation,” EVA said of the results.
A vote on the issue in Finland could occur “before midsummer,” Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Apr. 8. The vote most likely will happen as early as May, according to Agence France-Presse.
“We will have very careful discussions but not taking any more time than we have to,” Marin said during a press conference. “I think we will end the discussion before midsummer.”