Growing majority of Swedes back joining NATO, opinion poll shows

Illustration shows Swedish and NATO flags
Swedish and NATO flags are seen printed on paper this illustration taken April 13, 2022. REUTERS/Dado Ruvic/Illustration

STOCKHOLM, April 20 (Reuters) - A growing majority of Swedes are in favour of joining NATO, a poll showed on Wednesday, as policy-makers in both Sweden and Finland weigh up whether Russia's invasion of Ukraine should lead to an end to decades of military neutrality.

The poll by Demoskop and commissioned by the Aftonbladet newspaper showed 57% of Swedes now favoured NATO membership, up from 51% in March. Those opposed to joining fell to 21% from 24%, while those who were undecided dipped to 22% from 25%.

The March poll was the first to show a majority of Swedes in favour of joining NATO.

Sweden has not been at war since the time of Napoleon and has built its security policy on "non-participation in military alliances".

But like Finland, the invasion of Ukraine, which Moscow calls a "special military operation", has forced a radical rethink. Both countries are now seen as highly likely to join the 30-nation alliance. read more

Sweden's government is reviewing security policy with a report due before the end of May and the ruling Social Democrats are holding an internal debate on whether to drop their long-standing objection to NATO.

The Demoskop poll, consisting of 1,177 interviews carried out from April 14 to April 19, also showed growing support for membership among Social Democrat voters with significantly more favouring joining the alliance than opposed it.

Reporting by Niklas Pollard; Editing by Simon Johnson

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