Majority of Swedes oppose membership in NATO: survey

April 2nd, 2008 - 6:36 pm ICT by admin  

Stockholm, April 2 (DPA) The majority of Swedes remain opposed to membership of NATO but opposition has dropped since 2004, a survey published Wednesday suggested. While 53 percent remained opposed to NATO membership, 29 percent said they favoured such a move, the poll commissioned by the Svenska Dagbladet newspaper said, adding that 19 percent were undecided.

In December 2004, almost 60 percent opposed membership of the transatlantic alliance while 24 percent favoured membership.

“That is a significant change. Sweden’s non-alliance stance has been toned down more and more in government policy declarations,” Toivo Sjoren of polling institute SIFO that conducted the poll said.

During March 25-27, the polling institute had asked 1,000 people: “Do you think Sweden should join the defence alliance NATO?”

Sjoren said the shift towards a more favourable NATO view was noticeable among a majority of voters with the exception of supporters of the opposition Green Party and Left Party.

Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and Defence Minister Sten Tolgfors were slated to attend the NATO summit in Bucharest, Romania that opens Wednesday.

Their conservative Moderate Party is the only party where a majority of supporters back NATO membership with 46 percent in favour and 42 against, the survey said.

Backers of the opposition Social Democrats remained opposed to NATO membership but since 2004 the opponents have dropped from 67 to 56 percent.

Sweden currently contributes forces to NATO-led operations in Afghanistan and Kosovo.

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