Published 26 January 2023
After a meeting of the new National Security Council on 24 January, Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson, Minister for Foreign Affairs Tobias Billström and Minister for Defence Pål Jonson held a press conference on the NATO accession process and Swedish security.
“No national security issue is now more important to Sweden than our quickly becoming members of NATO together with Finland,” said Mr Kristersson.
Minister for Defence Pål Jonson addressed Russia’s large-scale invasion of Ukraine and the serious security situation in Europe.
“The security situation in Sweden’s neighbourhood is greatly affected by developments in Ukraine. Russia’s actions mean a long-term, sharp deterioration in the security situation in Europe and globally. Sweden’s and Finland’s applications for membership of NATO are a consequence of this development,” said Mr Jonson.
Mr Billström also stressed the importance of continuing the NATO accession process together with Finland.
“It is now important that we focus on the right thing, namely Sweden and Finland together quickly becoming members of NATO. Our countries’ processes are coordinated. We have close defence cooperation. Our becoming members together is also important for NATO as a whole, which means that all parties benefit from our joining at the same time,” said Mr Billström.
At the press conference, Mr Kristersson highlighted Swedish freedom of expression and the importance of being able to defend it and Swedish democracy together with other countries through membership of NATO.
The ministers stated that it goes without saying that the Government stands up for freedom of expression, but that does not prevent criticism of the burning of holy scriptures for the purpose of provocation.
Mr Kristersson said that in Sweden it is perfectly legitimate to have different opinions about NATO and to express them. However, a broad majority in Sweden supports our application. NATO has accepted Sweden’s and Finland’s applications and 28 out of 30 NATO member countries have ratified them.
“We are in a exposed position; the security situation is the most difficult since the Second World War. It is vital that Sweden can defend itself together with NATO,” said Mr Kristersson.
The Prime Minister called for calm in the process in order to be able to return to functioning talks between Sweden, Finland and Türkiye – on our NATO membership.
Source – Government of Sweden