Nato membership would deter conflict: Swedish security policy review

The Swedish government is expected to decide on whether to apply to join Nato in the next few days. PHOTO: REUTERS

STOCKHOLM (AFP) - Swedish membership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) would reduce the risk of conflict in northern Europe, a security policy review by parties in Sweden's Parliament said on Friday (May 13), with the government expected to decide on whether to apply in the next few days.

"Swedish Nato membership would raise the threshold for military conflicts and thus have a deterrent effect in northern Europe," the report presented at a press conference in Stockholm said.

The report stopped short of offering a concrete recommendation on which path the country should ultimately choose, but noted that it was "not realistic to develop bilateral defence alliances outside existing European and Euro-Atlantic structures."

It also noted that "within the framework of current cooperation, there is no guarantee that Sweden would be helped if it were the target of a serious threat or attack."

On Thursday, Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin President Sauli Niinisto announced that they believed their country "must apply for NATO membership without delay."

Sweden's Foreign Minister Ann Linde stressed that Finland's actions would also impact Sweden and "needed to be considered."

She noted that both Finnish and Swedish memberships would be considered "negative" by Russia, but she told reporters that they did not anticipate a "conventional military attack" in reaction to a potential application.

But Ms Linde also added that the government had already declared earlier that "an armed assault against Sweden cannot be ruled out."

Sweden and neighbouring Finland have been militarily non-aligned for decades, but have both seen public and political support for joining the military alliance soar following Russia's invasion of Ukraine of February 24.

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