“Sweden has been collaborating with the NATO, perhaps Russia does not see accession as such a big step”stated the Swedish Prime Minister, Magdalena Andersson, in an interview with Televisión Española during the Atlantic Alliance Summit in Madrid, hours after Turkey lifted the veto on her entry and that of Finland.
It is a historic step for two countries that formally neutral since the end of the Second World War and the TVE correspondent in Brussels, Marta Carazo, has asked Andersson about the fear of incidents on the border that could precipitate a military response from the Kremlin.
“NATO has a border with Russia also in the northNorway and other countries [Letonia y Estonia]. And countries have always behaved responsibly to ensure that no incident occurs,” Andersson replied.
On extraditions to Turkey: “We will follow Swedish and European law”
The prime minister has acknowledged that it is a “historic day for Sweden and for NATO” after some “long and difficult” negotiations with Turkey. These have finally been able to come to fruition in Madrid, despite the different positions regarding the Kurdish population.
“We come from different origins, we have different laws and it takes time to explain the positions”, justified Andersson, who recalled that his country considers the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) a terrorist organization like the rest of the European Union. The agreement reached by Sweden, Finland and Turkey implies the collaboration on terrorismfor which the government of Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has already requested the extradition of 33 suspected terrorists.
“If Turkey comes with an extradition request, we will examine the request, but we will follow Swedish and European law”, the Prime Minister pointed out, after defending that Sweden has adapted the legislation against terrorism and its financing. “We will never extradite Swedish citizens, and if someone has no connection to terrorist activities, you don’t have to worry.”
“The security situation in Europe has changed”
After the agreement, the forces of the Atlantic Alliance will add protection to the territorial integrity of Sweden and Finland, until now neutral, in a world order disrupted by the war in Ukraine. “Our request to NATO comes from the fact that Russia has invaded a neighboring, friendly, peaceful and democratic country. The security situation in Europe has changed”, she argued.
According to the president, the fear of a Russian offensive beyond the borders of Ukraine has facilitated “broad support” from the Swedish Parliament for accession. But the 30 partners still need to ratify the decision in their respective chambers. During the wait, Andersson has clarified that countries have agreed to provide “security guarantees” to Sweden and Finland.
The Prime Minister has repeatedly insisted that NATO will provide security for the Swedish people, but in return his will is also to add protection to the Alliance. “We have a strong army and we are making it stronger. As soon as possible, we will get to the [gasto en defensa del] 2% of GDP, at the latest in 2028”, has committed. “We are very strong at sea and in the air, and Finland is very strong on land, therefore, the two countries are going to offer more security to the NATO countries.”