NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg reaffirmed Allied commitment to Swedish and Finnish security during a visit to Sweden on Monday (13 June 2022). Speaking at a press conference with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, Mr Stoltenberg underlined that “Sweden and Finland’s security matters for NATO”.
The Secretary General was hosted at the Prime Minister’s residence at Harpsund, and held talks with Prime Minister Andersson, Minister for Foreign Affairs Ann Linde and Minister for Defence Peter Hulqvist. He also met the whole Swedish government. During the talks, the Secretary General and his Swedish counterparts discussed the fundamentally changed security environment resulting from Russia’s illegal war against Ukraine, and agreed on the need to sustain support to Ukraine.
Mr. Stoltenberg welcomed the decisions by Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership, describing this as “a historic step at a critical time for our security”. He said that Sweden and Finland’s membership of the Alliance would facilitate closer Nordic and Baltic defence cooperation, strengthen NATO’s presence in the High North, and boost transatlantic security overall.
The Secretary General said that he and his staff remain in close contact with all parties to address Türkiye’s legitimate concerns about the terrorist PKK group, and make progress on Sweden and Finland’s membership applications as soon as possible. He welcomed the Swedish government’s readiness to address Türkiye’s concerns, pointing to changes to Sweden’s legislative framework on counter-terrorism, and work to ensure that Sweden’s “legal framework for arms export will reflect their future status as NATO members, with new commitments to Allies”.
Mr. Stoltenberg recalled that since its application, Sweden has received security assurances from many NATO countries, and the Alliance has stepped up its presence and exercises in the region. Sweden is currently hosting BALTOPS 2022, NATO’s largest exercise in the Baltic Sea which involves over 7,000 forces from 14 Allies and partners, including Sweden and Finland. Both countries are participating in NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence exercise across the Baltic region and Poland.