The country’s commander-in-chief claims it should allow the bloc to use its territory as they see fit
Sweden should not “set reservations at an early stage” before even joining NATO, Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces Micael Byden told reporters at a press conference on Tuesday. Byden recommended the government present no objections should the US-led military bloc seek to place nuclear weapons or bases on Swedish soil.
The commander-in-chief revealed that the armed forces plan to more than double the number of conscripts to 50,000 by 2035. Stockholm will reach NATO’s required expenditure of 2% of GDP on defense by 2026, earlier than previously believed, thanks to a weak currency and higher costs of military equipment, he added.
Byden’s advice against limiting the bloc’s access to his country’s resources echoed the words of Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, who noted at the same press conference that she did not want to “close any doors” to the alliance. There should not be “any preconditions” to NATO membership, she said.
Marin’s Swedish counterpart, Ulf Kristersson, expressed similar views, suggesting the two Nordic nations “should draw exactly the same conclusions” and “embrace” whatever the military bloc demands of them.
Stockholm and Helsinki applied to join NATO in May, citing Russia’s military operation in Ukraine as the reason behind the move. While 28 of the bloc’s 30 members have approved their applications, Türkiye and Hungary have yet to do so.
Last month, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, speaking at a press conference in Prague, said that “Finland is not a country where terrorists are roaming freely,” but Sweden is “a place where terror is rampant.”
Finland sent a delegation to Türkiye in late October, according to Turkish news outlet Anadolu Agency, which revealed that the talks focused on the extradition of Kurdish militants, a key concern for Ankara.
Commenting on Finland’s and Sweden’s potential accession to NATO, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov warned in June that the move would further escalate tensions between Moscow and the West.