According to Defense News, Swedish Armed Forces commander General Micael Byden said that the possibility of "friction and confrontation" between NATO forces and Russia in the Baltic Sea region is a key reason for proposals for the two countries to increase their collaboration.
Many of the politicians who are in favor of a defense union are also in favor of NATO membership, and see such a move as a step in that direction, Defense News reported.
They include leading members of Sweden's conservative opposition Moderate Party, while the Liberal Party is also generally supportive of establishing a treaty-based military union with Finland.
"The deteriorating security situation means that we must strengthen our own defense capability, and in close dialogue, preferably with Finland, develop a clear road map for Swedish membership in NATO," The Moderate Party's defense and foreign affairs spokespersons recently stated.
"Sweden’s host nation agreement with NATO has many advantages but it does not strengthen Sweden's security and defense capability; not in the way that Sweden’s membership of NATO would in terms of solidarity and military obligations," the Moderates defense spokeswoman Karin Enstrom said.
"If Russia continues to upset the stability of our adjoining territories, this will tip the scale not in favor of Russia but in that of NATO," Vanhanen claimed.