Minister's speech seen to reflect NATO's worldview
At the end of the annual Munich Security Conference today, Swedish Radio news reported that Minister for Defence Peter Hultqvist had participated in the debate about NATO's future and spoke about a Russian threat and a dire military situation in Europe.
"Russia's illegal annexation of Crimea and the Russian involvement in eastern Ukraine is the greatest challenge to the European security order," he said during his speech.
Hultqvist's security analysis was wholly in line with NATO's according to Nicholas Burns, a former American diplomats who served in a top spot in the State Department and as Permanent Representative to NATO during the George W. Bush administration.
"I thought that what Minister Hultqvist said today was entirely consistent with what the other NATO ministers were saying," said Burns. "If Sweden applied on a Tuesday, we would admit Sweden on a Wednesday because it's that important to us."
After hearing Hutlqvist speak, the Polish foreign minister Witold Wasczykowski made a point of saying, perhaps a little pointedly Swedish Radio's reporter noted, that Sweden should become a NATO member this summer at the latest.
Hultqvist told the reporter that he sees no problem in the fact that his security emphases match NATO's.
"The important thing for me isn't that you put us in a compartment. The important thing for me is that we have the most correct picture possible of what's happening in the world. And my actions are based on those analyses that have been performed and confirmed by a parliament decision in June last year," said Hultqvist.
And as for Sweden's joining NATO, Hultqvist rejected any speculations as he has in the past.
"That's certainly not on the table," he said. "Our position on military alliances is well-known."