Sweden’s government reiterated its stance Friday that the country should not seek NATO membership, following an opposition push to join the military alliance in light of increased tensions with Russia in the Baltic region.

 

Margot Wallström

 

As part of a defense agreement between the center-left government and three opposition parties the government had commissioned a report evaluating the country’s defense and security stance.

 

While the report is still to be published later Friday, the government said Sweden would not change its long tradition of neutrality by joining the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

 

“The combination of military non-alignment, heightened national defense capability and deepening cooperation are our way to meet the challenges we face without contributing to increased tension in our region”, Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom and Defence Minister Peter Hultqvist wrote in a signed article in daily Dagens Nyheter.

 

Dagens Nyheter has read the report and quotes it as saying a membership would lead to a more predictable common behaviour in a Baltic Sea crisis and hence that the West’s possibilities to avoid a conflict would likely increase.