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SWEDISH NATO MEMBERSHIP: a risky misprioritization with immense consequences. 


February 26th, 2024

Pressmeddelande på svenska.

After a vote in the Hungarian parliament today, Sweden will now become a member of the military alliance NATO. SPAS has been against a Swedish NATO membership during the entire accession process and raised the issue that a NATO membership risks increasing insecurity and limiting Sweden’s abilities to be a strong and independent voice for disarmament, human rights and international law. 

”A Swedish NATO membership is a risky misprioritization that will lead to increased tension, polarisation and militarisation at a time where we need the exact opposite. A NATO membership has uncritically been presented as a boon for Sweden’s security but increased armament, joining a nuclear alliance and allying ourselves with undemocratic countries, is not what leads to sustainable peace and security”, says Kerstin Bergeå, President of SPAS.

The government declared that Sweden could continue promoting fundamental values such as disarmament, international law and human rights in its foreign and security policy even as a member of NATO. However, Sweden’s stance has weakened in many UN processes. Moreover, after some pressure, Sweden resumed its arms export to Turkey and in 2022 granted arms export to Albania for the first time. Both decisions were motivated by Sweden’s application to NATO.

”Sweden’s actions during the accession process have shown that its NATO strategy is appeasement and accommodation. It is very worrying. There has been a lot of lip service paid to the idea that it’s still possible to maintain an independent foreign policy and an ambitious disarmament policy but, until now, we’ve only seen the opposite”, says Kerstin Bergeå, President of SPAS.

SPAS has continuously raised the issue of the flawed analysis of, and lack of debate about, the potential negative consequences and risks of a NATO membership throughout the process of accession. After the American presidential election this fall, Donald Trump may have substantial influence in the alliance.

”The entry into NATO will mean immense consequences for Sweden, for those of us who live here and for our role in the world. That isn’t unexpected but it was never highlighted in the clearly flawed analysis that preceded the decision to join NATO. We have only just begun to see the breadth of the consequences of a membership in NATO. There are astonishingly many serious questions that remain unanswered on what this means for Sweden and our security”, says Kerstin Bergeå, President of SPAS.

In January 2024, SPAS released the report “Sweden in NATO”, which shows that there are many important and unanswered questions regarding Sweden’s NATO membership such as:

  • Can conscripts be sent to NATO missions abroad, for example to fight for Turkey or another NATO country?
  • Will Sweden participate in nuclear weapons related activities and can nuclear weapons be brought in or placed on Swedish territory?
  • How will Sweden’s arms export be affected when it comes to human rights, democracy and respect for international law  in the buyer country?
  • How will Sweden, within the framework entailed by a NATO membership, continue to be a strong voice for nuclear disarmament and international law?



Linnéa Petersson, Communications
linnea.petersson@svenskafreds.se, 070-763 48 57

Kerstin Bergeå, President
kerstin.bergea@svenskafreds.se, 070-954 05 13