Debate Over ‘NATO Option’ Brewing as Swedes Equally Divided Over Alliance Accession


Since abandoning its stance of neutrality after the end of the Cold War, Sweden has been edging closer to NATO through various collaborations and joint military drills, yet formally remains non-aligned.

Public opinion regarding Swedish membership in NATO is now divided into three almost equal parts, according to a new survey by the newspaper Dagens Nyheter and pollster Ipsos. Some 35 percent of Swedes believed their country shouldn’t apply for NATO membership, 33 percent answered “yes”, and 32 percent were unsure.

The share of NATO opponents sunk by three percent, while the proportion of NATO supporters increased by just as much compared with a previous survey conducted just over a year ago.

Meanwhile, a renewed debate on NATO accession is brewing in Swedish politics. Whereas the centre-right bloc joined by the national-conservative Sweden Democrats, following a surprising U-turn, demand a so-called “NATO option” in the country’s security policy, the ruling Social Democrats see no benefits in doing so and remain firmly opposed.

In her recent speech at the digital conference Nation and Defence, Social Democrat Foreign Minister Ann Linde warned that political divisions create uncertainty about Sweden’s security policy. Linde earlier stressed it is the government that establishes the country’s security policy line and that a NATO option is irrelevant even if a parliamentary majority demands it.

Linde emphasised that…

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