Nordic leaders meet Obama to discuss broad agenda
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven, along with leaders of the other Nordic countries, are meeting US President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, to discuss security policy, climate issues, migration and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, TTIP.
The foreign commentator for Swedish daily Dagens Nyheter believes that relations between the US and Sweden have never been as warm as they are now, and Swedish Radio News reports that it is unusual that several countries - in this case the prime ministers of Sweden, Denmark, Norway and Iceland, and the President of Finland - are invited at once for an official visit to the White House.
"I believe that the US sees the Nordic countries as a part of the solution and not the problem. They've invited our leaders to talk about everything from security and defense questions to trade questions, so it's a broad agenda that we have in common with the US," Sweden's ambassador to Washington, Björn Lyrvall, told Swedish Radio News.
In the US, the meeting is being interpreted as a clear marker that co-operation with the Nordics is important, not least when it comes to Russia.
"We share the concern of countries in the region, typically those that have a border with Russia, about the increasing presence of Russian military assets in the area," Charles Kupchan, the White House's senior director for European affairs, told Swedish Radio News.
Kupchan stressed that the US perceives the five Nordic countries as a whole, when it comes to security policy, despite the fact that Sweden and Finland are not members of NATO.
"NATO's door remains open," said Kupchan. "I know that there are conversations taking place in Finland and in Sweden of one day joining NATO."
After the meeting, the Nordic leaders are scheduled to join Obama for a state dinner.