UPDATED 8:15 AM PT – Monday, May 16, 2022
The Swedish society has appeared to become increasingly divided over the government’s proposed accession to NATO. According to a poll by Swedish broadcaster SVT, 43 percent of Swedish men between the ages 18 and 29 are opposed to their country abandoning neutral status and joining NATO.
Meanwhile, another 43 percent said they were in favor of joining NATO. The poll found people of older generations and women support joining NATO the most, while young Swedish men are the least supportive of the proposal.
“I think that it put our security in jeopardy and then we’re also allying ourselves with less nice and trustworthy countries,” said Olof Bjork, a court employee in Stockholm. “We could increase other cooperation, military cooperation, and increase our own ability to defend ourselves, invest in a national conscription defense.”
This comes as the Swedish ruling party abandoned its 73-year long opposition to NATO and voted to join the alliance in recent days. Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson recently announced that her government has decided to formally apply.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, via translator, explains decision to apply for NATO membership:
“Despite the fact that non-alignment has served us well in over 200 years … it won’t serve us as well in the future … Sweden is best defended within NATO.” pic.twitter.com/awYLYARpgk
— The Recount (@therecount) May 16, 2022
Swedish politicians are citing the Ukraine crisis as the reason to join NATO, while Russia is saying such a move would make Sweden potential target for its military.