Sweden and Finland, allied countries but not members of NATO, today held a meeting at the highest level to discuss a hypothetical entry into the Alliance, which in the case of Helsinki could be a matter of weeks.
The two Social Democratic heads of government of both countries, the Swedish Magdalena Andersson and the Finnish Sanna Marin, agreed that the war between Russia and Ukraine changes European security policy and requires a new analysis, including the relationship with NATO.
But while Marin was more explicit about the timing of a future decision and advocated the advantages of matching, Andersson was more cautious and refused to speculate.
“I think our process is going to be quite fast, we are talking about weeks, not months”said Marin at the joint press conference, who had already admitted days ago that the objective is to make a decision as consensual as possible before the NATO summit to be held in Madrid at the end of June.
Andersson, for his part, avoided talking about specific deadlines and did not confirm the journalistic information that appeared today in Sweden about an Atlanticist turn of his party.
”We must analyze the situation to see what is best for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people, and we must not rush. It has to be done very seriously and thoroughly,” said Andersson, who nevertheless clarified that there is no point in delaying the process and he recalled that there are general elections in his country in September.
FINNISH REPORT FORESEES TENSIONS WITH RUSSIA
Both countries have launched a parliamentary discussion on security policy, although at different rates.
The Eduskunta (Finnish Parliament) today presented a report in this regard, which anticipates tensions on its border with Russia as a result of a future entry into NATO, while considering that maintaining the “status quo” in the context of the armed conflict in Ukraine also carries risks.
That document, which does not contain proposals, will serve as the basis for the debate on possible entry, which will take place in a week.
A parliamentary committee will choose the option that it deems most convenient for the security of Finland and will present a proposal in the Eduskunta, where it will be debated and voted on, and then the Executive will propose the future security and defense policy, which could be based on requesting entry into NATO, the most likely option.
The parallel Swedish report should be ready before May 31, although Andersson stressed that this is a deadline and that it could be presented earlier.
“The decision that Finland adopts will be part of that analysis, but each country will make its own independently,” Andersson said today when asked if a Finnish entry would not force Sweden to do the same.
Marin also pointed out that these are sovereign decisions, although he stressed the “close dialogue” between the two countries during the process and advocated a consistent position.
“I would prefer that we take the same position throughout the region, but it is a Swedish decision,” he said.
TURN IN THE SWEDISH DEBATE
Although a favorable Finnish decision to join NATO seems closer, in Sweden the situation has taken a turn in recent days.
The Swedish Social Democratic Party, which heads a minority government, announced on Monday the opening of an internal debate on the security situation in Europe and its position towards NATO, which has so far opposed membership.
The reason given was the change in security caused by the war in Ukraine, despite the fact that the party approved in November at its last congress to maintain the current status.
And the far-right Sweden Democrats (SD), third parliamentary force and skeptical until now about joining the Alliance, also decided on Monday that Sweden join if Finland does the same before.
(with information from EFE)
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