EU Home Affairs Commissioner Ylva Johansson said on Tuesday that her home country Sweden should not hold a referendum on whether to join NATO.
A referendum “would not be my first choice,” Johansson said in a wide-ranging interview at the POLITICO 28 – Class of 2022 dinner. “I think that you really need a broad majority consensus … to have a broad political debate with all stakeholders in society.”
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson earlier this month dismissed calls by opposition parties for the country to join NATO after Russia invaded Ukraine, arguing it would further destabilize Europe. Moscow warns of “serious military-political consequences” if either Sweden or Finland joins the military alliance.
In a poll accomplished Earlier this month, for the first time, Swedes who were in favor of joining NATO outnumbered those who were against. In Finland, support for joining the alliance has skyrocketed since the start of the Ukraine war, a recent poll has found displays 62 percent are in favor of joining.
Johansson also claimed that Sweden and Finland would likely take a joint decision on joining the alliance, but stressed that such moves should be left to national governments.
Although neither Finland nor Sweden are part of NATO, both countries are Enhanced Opportunity Partners of the alliance and signed a declaration in 2018 committing to strengthen their defense cooperation.
Johansson commended European countries for agreeing to temporarily grant sweeping rights to Ukrainian refugees within a week of the start of the war in Ukraine, but also acknowledged EU home ministers were initially reluctant to act. She also criticized the EU’s treatment of Middle Eastern refugees in 2015.
“That was really a failure of the European Union back in 2015, so that was really definitely bad,” she said. “I swore to myself that if I’m in charge, that won’t happen again.”
The Swedish commissioner also reiterated that she was “very concerned” about the trafficking of Ukrainian refugees coming to Europe – numbering more than 3.5 million people on the run Ukraine in the last few weeks.
Johansson also said that legislation to tackle child sexual abuse, which remains controversial because it would force tech companies like Facebook to report instances of abuse to authorities, is due to “workload” issues surrounding it because of the war in Ukraine was postponed until May. But Johansson said she was “happy [to] fighting” to ensure the law passes, saying it remains their “top priority”.
https://www.politico.eu/article/eu-commissioner-sweden-nato-referendum-johansson/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=RSS_Syndication Sweden should not join NATO by referendum – POLITICO