NATO officially starts the process of admitting Finland and Sweden. According to unanimous media reports, all heads of state and government of the 30 member states agree to the plans at the summit meeting in Madrid.
NATO has officially started the process of admitting Finland and Sweden. According to information from the German Press Agency, all heads of state and government of the 30 member states approved the plans at the summit meeting in Madrid. Turkey had only given up its blockade of Finland and Sweden joining NATO the night before - in exchange for concessions from the Nordic countries. However, it will probably be a few months before Finland and Sweden are actually members of the alliance. According to current plans, the accession protocols are to be signed next Tuesday. After that, they still have to be ratified by the member states. It is estimated that it could take six to eight months for all 30 Allies to do this. In Germany, the Bundestag must also agree to this.
Finland and Sweden had applied for NATO membership on May 18 under the impression of the Russian war against Ukraine. However, Turkey blocked the accession process for weeks, citing Sweden and Finland's alleged support of "terrorist organizations" such as the banned Kurdish Workers' Party PKK, the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and the Gülen movement as a reason - these accusations are rejected in Stockholm and Helsinki. Turkey also demanded the extradition of several people who are suspected of being terrorists in Turkey.
The breakthrough came on Tuesday shortly before the summit began when Stoltenberg met Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinistö. In a joint statement, the two Nordic countries pledged to address several of Turkey's demands.
Sweden and Finland, among others, pledged that there would be no arms embargoes against Turkey. They also promised decisive action against terrorism and the PKK. Turkish extradition requests by terrorist suspects should also be examined quickly.
Chancellor Olaf Scholz and other heads of state and government welcomed the planned NATO expansion. That is "something that is very, very important to us," said the Chancellor on Wednesday. "Both countries fit in very well with our alliance." US President Joe Biden said of Russian President Vladimir Putin: "Putin wanted the Finlandization of Europe. He will get the NATOization of Europe." Finland was officially neutral during the Cold War. Stoltenberg emphasized: "President Putin did not succeed in shooting NATO's door. He is getting the opposite of what he wanted."