The delegations of Ukraine and Russia discussed how a possible neutrality of Ukraine can be designed.

Russia cited Sweden and Austria as examples, which belong to the EU but not to NATO.

How did their status come about?

Austria: condition for sovereignty

Stephen Lowenstein

Political correspondent based in Vienna.

  • Follow I follow

Matthias Wysuwa

Political correspondent for northern Germany and Scandinavia based in Hamburg.

  • Follow I follow

Austria's neutrality was the political condition for the Allied occupying powers to withdraw from the country ten years after the Second World War and for the country to regain full sovereignty.

This was negotiated in Moscow in 1955 and promised in the Moscow memorandum.

However, this link does not exist in Austria's state treaty with the Soviet Union, the USA, Great Britain and France.

Great importance was attached to the fact that the parliament in Vienna then – all within a few months – decided on perpetual neutrality of its own free will.

However, they deviated from the Swiss model mentioned in the Moscow memorandum and found their own interpretation of neutrality.

Austria joined the United Nations in 1955 and the European Union in 1995.

"Forever" is not a guarantee of eternity, but means that neutrality does not refer to a specific situation or only applies to a specific conflict, but always.

The fact that its continued validity is still being watched with eagle eyes, especially in Moscow, was shown again by the harsh reaction to a rather hesitant debate with individual voices calling for consideration of NATO membership in view of the Russian attack on (non-aligned) Ukraine.

Unlike in Sweden, neutrality in Austria continues to be popular.

You feel safe and know that there are NATO countries between you and Russia.

That the Soviet Union once planned in its scenarios for a breakthrough through Austria in the event of war, neutrality or not, and that at that time in the NATO doctrine one of the options for this eventuality would have been to bomb Linz and St. Pölten with tactical nuclear bombs " block”, hardly anyone is aware of.

However, the sad state of the federal army is now being discussed.

The red-white-red armed forces have been cut back even more consistently than the Germans over the past 30 years.

Now they want to raise defense spending to at least one percent of gross domestic product (GDP).

Finally, the "comprehensive national defence" to maintain neutrality is also a constitutional requirement.

Sweden: Only militarily non-aligned

In Sweden, the roots of neutrality go back to the time of the Napoleonic Wars and, among other things, to the painful loss of Finland to Russia.

But the country's neutrality is no longer far off.

It was happy to see itself as a great humanitarian power, long after it had ceased to be a real great power, and tried to mediate in conflicts all over the world.

But the country's commitment to the West is clear.

Because Sweden is not only a member of the EU, but has also signed a partnership agreement with NATO.

Sweden is now only militarily non-aligned, but that is no longer set in stone.

The Russian attack quickly tipped public opinion about joining NATO, as it did in Finland. In politics, too, demands (from the bourgeois opposition) for an application to join the alliance are getting louder.

Only the Social Democratic Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson is still very cautious.

She just spoke of the risk of further destabilizing the situation with such a step.

The military should now receive significantly more money for this, it should be two percent of GDP.