Analysing international policy processes and Lithuania’s role in them
Events Jun 27, 2023

Discussion „Swedish NATO Membership: Shifting Security and Defence Environment in the Baltic Sea Region“

The discussion on the Sweden’s path towards NATO future membership and developments in the security and defence environment in the Baltic Sea region featured Swedish Members of Parliament Hans Wallmark (Mod), Kerstin Lundgren (C) and Aron Emilsson (SD).

Mr Wallmark started the discussion by stressing the security report released by the Swedish Government which emphasized that “NATO, EU and Swedish security are a part of the same triangle”. Mr Wallmark stated that Sweden hopes to become a NATO member before the upcoming NATO summit, but it will depend on the response from Turkey and Hungary. Moreover, the MP believes that the NATO summit is a great chance to show unity between the EU and the US against Russia’s aggression in Ukraine. The report also assesses that the deterrence against Russia will be necessary in the foreseeable future, as Russia is heading in a neo-Stalinist direction.

In regards to the question of security in Gotland, the MP stressed that the whole Baltic Sea region is important, not only Gotland. “Regions such as the North Sea, the West Sea and the Baltic Sea are linked to each other,” noted Mr Wallmark.

Ms Lundgren asserted continuous Swedish support for the Ukrainian cause, as well as rebuilding the country in the future. Six out of eight major parties in Sweden support Sweden’s accession during the NATO summit or very shortly after. “If NATO manages to break the axe between Budapest and Ankara, so that Budapest would be in favour and able to ratify our [Swedish] membership before the NATO summit in Vilnius, that would a part of the success of the summit,” argued Ms Lundgren.

Such a development would show Ankara and Budapest that NATO is able to put pressure on these countries. From the North and the Baltic Sea security perspective, it is important that all countries are in the alliance and have security guarantees.

According Mr Emilsson, there has been a shift in party and public opinion on Swedish NATO accession. There is also a very high approval of the public for continuous support for Ukraine. “Sweden has done our part when it comes to trilateral agreement. Now it is up to Ankara and Budapest to acknowledge it,” stated Mr Emilsson.

With Sweden joining, a strong security policy could be formed on the Nordic-Baltic flank, Mr Emilsson added: “It is important to see that we [Swedes] are contributors. We will provide to the common security and defence policy in NATO.”