Sweden to speed up decision on NATO bid

The Swedish government has announced that it will speed up its decision whether or not to apply for membership of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) by publishing a report on the subject two weeks earlier than planned.

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Thursday that a report on NATO membership will be released on May 13, rather than the 31 as originally planned, accelerating any eventual decision for the country to ask join the military alliance.

“If Finland finally takes this decision to apply for membership, and everything is going in this direction, especially after yesterday’s parliamentary debate, this will of course have a major impact on our analysis,” Linde said, reports the SVT channel.

Finland is expected to make a decision on NATO membership in the coming weeks, with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö saying a decision should be announced sometime before a NATO summit due to take place in June.

Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist also commented on the possibility of Sweden joining NATO, saying the country was not simply following Finland.

“Our process is Swedish, literally, and is based on how different things in our environment affect Swedish security. That’s what we’re doing in this report,” Hultqvist said, adding, “Russia is the cause of all of this, so we take with us how different actors act, including Finland’s position.”

Hultqvist went on to note that Russia could retaliate against Sweden’s NATO membership: “These are things like cyber threats, hybrid threats, sabotage, weakening the organization of State, it’s a whole catalog of actions that could possibly be taken by Russia.”

“I don’t know what they intend to do, I have no idea, but Europe lives in a situation of threat and everything here has fundamentally changed, that’s what he take a stand,” he added.

In Finland, expert Charly Salonius-Pasternak, senior researcher at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, also warned that Russia could retaliate against NATO membership, saying Russia could try to flood the country of illegal immigrants.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail at ctomlinson(at)breitbart.com.


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