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The Future of Swedish Foreign Policy

The Future of Swedish Foreign Policy

How Should Sweden Navigate in Precarious European Security Landscape?

Sep 5, 2022

Policy Paper_Security
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The GPRG Team is thrilled to share the release of our second policy paper: The Future of Swedish Foreign Policy: How Should Sweden Navigate in Precarious European Security Landscape?, written by lead authors Alexander Eklund, Bahadir Sirin, Fanny Söderberg, John Rasulov, and Linus Abrahamsson!

On 24 February 2022, the post-Cold War environment in Europe ushered in a new period. The Russian invasion of Ukraine patently ended 30 years of post-Cold War peace on the continent, already a bygone in Georgia, Crimea, and parts of Eastern Ukraine. The security paradigm in Sweden’s neighborhood also changed: the use of force by hostile states in the Baltic Sea region is no longer just a remote possibility. Russia’s reforms and modernization of its armed forces, as well as the lowering of the country’s threshold for the use of force in its immediate neighborhood, heightens Sweden’s concerns about crises or conflicts that might soon directly or indirectly affect the country or that might take place in Northern Europe. In the following years, Sweden needs to address a number of significant challenges:

1) Given the energy crisis, and shaky economic circumstances, which may constrain increased defense spending in the future years, how can Sweden ensure the military security of the state in a deteriorating regional security environment?

2) Could NATO be a solution to Sweden’s security issues or would it pose limitations to its for- foreign policy posturing?

3) What impact would Sweden’s new defense language and strategy have on security and cooperation in the Baltic Sea region?

In answering these questions, this paper begins by clarifying the ambiguities around “neutrality” as a concept and distinguishing it from the corresponding terminology. The paper will out- line the evolution and origins of Swedish neutrality and significant shifts in contemporary for- foreign policy and its interaction with the EU’s security agreements. The paper will also outline current security risks, Sweden-NATO cooperation and how the latter operates, and Swedish defense capabilities. Moreover, the paper will present two neutral country cases: Austria and Switzerland. Ultimately, the study will offer thorough recommendations for the future of Swedish foreign policy.

This policy paper is the second in GPRG's Election Series, a series composed of four policy papers that center around topics relevant to the upcoming Swedish elections, which take place on the 11th of September. Stay tuned for the release of the remaining reports in the series, as well as for more information about the organization's formal launch event on the 15th of September and the announcement of open positions within GPRG.

You can find the full version of the paper above.

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