Swedish Foreign Policy and What it Means in Practical Terms
Contributed to and posted by: TLB
The Prime Minister of Sweden, Stefan Lofven recently detailed a strategic approach to national security when he attended the Folk och Forsvar Annual National Conference in Salen. The January 8 meeting was especially telling. This marked the first time in the country’s history that security was discussed at length. It also established what work needs to be done to safeguard Sweden from terrorism, and to allocate resources accordingly.
Sweden’s burgeoning political maelstrom has resulted in bold new policies by lawmakers to protect the homeland from foreign enemies. Typically, Swedish foreign policy has revolved around neutrality, with Sweden preferring not to engage in alliances during peaceful times, for fear that it would entangle the country in difficult situations if war breaks out. The Swedish government continues to believe that a policy of non-alliance building will serve the country well and contribute to the ongoing stability and security of the nation.
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Of concern to Swedish foreign policy experts is Russian aggression. The political adventurism of Vladimir Putin has ruffled feathers across the region. When Russia illegally annexed Crimea, Nordic countries like Sweden became particularly concerned. Security policies in Sweden have been dramatically altered since then, with escalations in underwater activities taking place.
Of particular importance is the activity around the Baltic Sea. Sweden is growing increasingly concerned about threats to infrastructure – electricity, IT, public transportation etc. Foreign policy is being designed with all of these issues in mind. Government is now creating a systematic plan for Swedish security across multiple spectrums.
This is being built into the foreign policy agenda of the country. The national interests in terms of foreign policy are also dovetailing with security interests. Sweden does not believe there is a strong likelihood of a single, unified military threat against the country. However, the use of military force has not been ruled out against the homeland.
Budget cuts in recent years have characterized Swedish defense but policies are quickly changing. To fund this newfound initiative, the private sector and the public sector are moving money around. The politics of the region has resulted in an uptick in the number of Swedish expats returning to the country. This is evident in the stats of expats transferring money to Sweden to re-establish themselves in the country.
European politics is generally shaky now, what with the Brexit referendum and strong gains for right wing groups in France, Italy, and the Netherlands. Swedes are looking to take an active role in the way their country is being governed.