(Stockholm) A majority of Swedes backed their country’s entry into NATO, according to a poll published Thursday, as the ruling party prepares to discuss whether to abandon Sweden’s military nonalignment policy so far.
Posted at 9:23 am
A majority of 51% of Swedes are in favor of NATO membership, according to this poll by the Novus Institute, down from 45% a week ago.
Recent opinion polls by other institutes have also revealed that a majority of Swedes want their country to join the military alliance, a shift in public opinion brought about by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. But the Novus Institute said public opinion is now also being affected by the debate over NATO membership in neighboring Finland, where parliament began debating the issue on Wednesday.
Last week the Finnish government submitted to parliamentarians a “white paper” asserting that only NATO membership makes it possible to take advantage of the Article 5 “umbrella” of collective defense.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin visited her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson last week and on this occasion stressed that the two countries, which are NATO partners while officially non-aligned, are moving forward in unison on the issue of membership.
If Finland joins the alliance, 64% of Swedes questioned by Novus declare themselves in this case in favor of membership.
Novus Director Torbjorn Sjostrom stated that “the Swedish opinion in favor of NATO is increasing, because (the Swedes) believe that it will be done with Finland and in this case they are more positive about Sweden’s accession.”
Swedish Foreign Minister Anne Linde said Thursday that she wants to expedite the completion of the security report that will guide MPs during their deliberations.
“Finland has already published its analysis and there is strong pressure on us to complete our analysis,” she said.
Last week, the Social Democrats in power in Sweden announced the opening of an internal debate about the possibility of joining NATO.
Reversing the direction of the first Swedish party, so far historically opposed to joining NATO, would open the way for a Swedish candidacy.
According to Aftonbladet newspaper, citing sources within the SPD, a “marathon meeting” on NATO is scheduled for Friday, which is the party’s “first major discussion” on the subject.