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Swedish premier says joining NATO will help Baltic safety

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson looks up as the media leave after initial remarks in her meeting with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson inside 10 Downing Street on March 15, 2022 in London, United Kingdom. (Matt Dunham/WPA Pool/Getty Images/TNS)

Sweden’s prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, told party members that joining NATO would give the country “a special responsibility” for security in the Baltic Sea, according to an article by news agency TT.

“If Sweden is attacked then we have better opportunities to get support from other countries, but you also give security guarantees,” Andersson told party members in Sundbyberg, Sweden, ahead of a May 1 speech in central Stockholm.

Sweden, along with is Nordic neighbor Finland, began deliberating membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization after Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion of Ukraine. Andersson told her party members that if Finland chooses to join the military alliance, “Sweden will be more vulnerable if we do not become members.”

Asked about the prospect of nuclear weapons on Swedish soil, the prime minister pointed to the example of the Social Democrats in Norway. “They have been in NATO for a long time, but they have been incredibly active internationally both in terms of mediation and disarmament,” she said.

Sweden plans to publish a white paper on NATO membership on May 13, a day after Andersson’s ruling Social Democrats conclude internal discussions on the issue.

Speaking later in the day, Andersson said in a speech that her government is proposing to increase the budget for unemployment benefit by about 5 billion kronor ($509 million). The plan would center on making more permanent a beefed-up insurance fund for those forced out of work during the pandemic.

“It was obvious during the pandemic that the unemployment insurance fund is not strong enough in Sweden,” the prime minister said.

Under the proposal, everyone who earns up to 33,000 kronor a month would receive 80% of their salary if they found themselves out of work.


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