The nationalist Swedish Democrats party has shifted its viewpoint on NATO and has said that membership of the security bloc could be considered as a last resort. Its new position gives a majority in the Swedish parliament to those who believe that Sweden needs a stronger security umbrella.

The minority ruling coalition of Greens and Social Democrats is against Sweden joining NATO, so no move in that direction can be expected in the near future.

However, Russian belligerence in the Baltic Sea has prompted both Sweden and Finland to consider strengthening not only their national defences, but reaching out to the NATO alliance for protection should the situation worsen.

Norway, Denmark and Iceland are all members of NATO.

FILE PHOTO: Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde attends a news conference during a visit to Moscow, Russia, February 4, 2020. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina/File Photo