Democrats leader wants party to change on NATO membership if Finland applies to join alliance


Sweden Democrats leader wants party to change on NATO membership if Finland applies to join alliance

April 9, 2022

Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Akesson speaks to the media after the no-confidence vote against PM Stefan Lofven, in Stockholm

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) – The leader of Sweden’s second-biggest opposition party will, should neighbour Finland apply to join NATO, suggest that his party change its stance towards favouring a Swedish membership, he told daily Svenska Dagbladet.

A change of stance by the Sweden Democrats party would mean a swing to a parliamentary majority in favour of long-neutral Sweden joining the alliance.

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has prompted the two countries to consider joining, although Sweden is more hesitant than Finland which has a 1,300 km border with Russia.

The Finnish government has said it would clarify next steps in the coming weeks regarding a possible decision to seek membership.

“Then (if Finland applies) my ambition is to go to the party council with a request that we change our mind,” the paper on Saturday quoted Sweden Democrats party leader Jimmie Akesson as saying in an interview.

“What’s changed now is that Finland is very clearly moving towards a NATO membership and there are many indications this may happen in the near future. That, and the fact Ukraine, which is not a NATO member, is completely alone, has made me turn.”

The nationalist Sweden Democrats said last month, after a poll showed a majority of Swedes for the first time in favour of joining NATO, that it was reviewing its stance.

(Reporting by Anna Ringstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

Author: John Hanno

Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. Bogan High School. Worked in Alaska after the earthquake. Joined U.S. Army at 17. Sergeant, B Battery, 3rd Battalion, 84th Artillery, 7th Army. Member of 12 different unions, including 4 different locals of the I.B.E.W. Worked for fortune 50, 100 and 200 companies as an industrial electrician, electrical/electronic technician.