The very cautious remarks of the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, do not go down well with supporters of the country’s membership of NATO, as well as in Finland, notes the Stockholm press. Helsinki is tempted by a quick rally but hesitates.

Since she considered that at the moment Sweden’s application for NATO membership “would destabilize the situation” Already tense with Russia, the Prime Minister faces a salvo of criticism, both in her country and in Finland. Spoken on Tuesday March 8 in front of the press, these remarks indicate that, for Magdalena Andersson, “we do what Russia wants, and with the same justification that Putin used”denounces the conservative daily Svenska Dagbladet. “The benefits in terms of increased common deterrence are never taken into account” by the Social Democratic leader, he regrets in an editorial.

On the other hand, for Aftonbladetpolitically close to the ruling party in Stockholm, now is not the time to “push for Swedish NATO membership in the midst of a burning war”, as do opposition parties. “Short term, he adds, the Swedish defense capability must take center stage”with the corollary of closer military cooperation with Finland and NATO member states.

Rise in military spending

It is in this spirit that Magdalena Andersson announced, this Thursday, March 10, that the Swedish defense budget would pass “as soon as possible” to 2% of GDP – level in principle required by NATO for its members -, against 1.25% this year, reports the regional daily Gothenburg-Posten. To finance this increase, the government is suggesting the idea of ​​a “preparation tax” to a reinforced defense of the country which would be paid for by the population.

Be that as it may, the great caution shown by the Swedish leader has caused a stir in Finland, a neighboring country which, like the kingdom, is one of the rare members of the European Union not to have joined the Atlantic Alliance. . In Helsinki, the debate on a possible application for membership of NATO is progressing at a much faster pace than in Stockholm. A parliamentary majority is emerging


Anthony Jacob

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