Sweden’s prime minister believes it is likely Finland will join NATO before his country

Streaming HUBMarch 14, 2023

Sweden’s prime minister acknowledged Tuesday that Turkey’s opposition to the Swedish bid makes it likely that neighboring Finland will join NATO before his country does.

Ulf Christerson said during a news conference in Stockholm on Tuesday that it has been clear since NATO’s Madrid summit in June that Finland’s path to membership has been easier than Sweden’s, and now the prospect is growing. that Finland would be the first to enter NATO.

Turkey has accused both nations, but especially Sweden, of being too soft on groups that are considered terrorist organizations or a threat to Turkey’s existence, including Kurdish groups. Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said that Ankara has fewer problems with Finland’s involvement.

Hungary weighs NATO applications to send diplomats to Sweden, Finland

Since they announced their intention to join the military alliance in May last year, Finland and Sweden have consistently stressed that they will become members of the military alliance at the same time “hand in hand”.

Sweden's Prime Minister Ulf Christerson, left, and Oskar Steenström, ambassador at cabinet preparation and chief negotiator in the NATO process, hold a press briefing in Stockholm, March 14, 2023.

Sweden’s Prime Minister Ulf Christerson, left, and Oskar Steenström, ambassador at cabinet preparation and chief negotiator in the NATO process, hold a press briefing in Stockholm, March 14, 2023. (Fredrik Sandberg/TT News Agency via AP)

Now, however, Christerson told reporters, “It is not out of the question that Sweden and Finland will be ratified at different stages.”

Finland’s parliament gives final approval for the country to join NATO with a vote of 184-7

All 30 current members of NATO must approve a new member. All of them signed the accession protocols for Finland and Sweden last year, and 28 of them have ratified the texts of both countries. Hungarian lawmakers began debating the Nordic pair’s membership bids earlier this month and Budapest could ratify them by the end of March, leaving Turkey as the last holdout. He says that he is still seeking guarantees and assurances from both the countries.

Christerson said that the final decision is in Turkey’s hands and that Sweden is prepared to handle the situation where Finland enters NATO without Sweden.

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He reiterated what NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg had said earlier, that it would only delay.

Christerson told reporters, “Basically, it is not about whether Sweden becomes a member of NATO, but when Sweden becomes a member of NATO.”

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