The Swedish Prime Minister says everything indicates that Finland will join NATO before Sweden.
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson on Sunday pointed out that Finland is expected to join NATO earlier than Sweden, given Turkey’s objections to Stockholm’s membership in the US-led military alliance.
“Currently everything indicates that Finland will join [NATO] earlier than Sweden,” Kristersson indicated at a conference of Sweden’s Moderate Party, which he leads.
Finland and its neighbor Sweden ended decades of military non-alignment and decided to join the US-led alliance in the wake of the war in Ukraine.
Their applications were accepted at a June NATO summit. But the bids still needed to be ratified by all 30 of the alliance members’ parliaments — a process that got hung up once it reached the turn of Turkey and Hungary.
Budapest and Ankara have so far announced their readiness to ratify the Finnish application, but not the Swedish one.
Ankara suspended negotiations with Sweden in outrage following rallies attacking the Turkish leadership in Stockholm and the burning of the holy Quran outside Turkey’s embassy, but the talks resumed in Brussels on March 9.
Turkey has opposed Sweden’s bid, accusing Stockholm of providing a safe haven for what it considers “terrorists”, especially members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
On Thursday, local media reports said that Finnish President Sauli Niinisto inked the law that allows his country to join NATO.
On the same day, a member of the Turkish parliamentary commission on foreign policy issues told Sputnik that the Turkish parliament’s general assembly would consider Finland’s NATO membership protocol the following week.
Last week, Ibrahim Aydin, a lawmaker from the ruling Justice and Development Party, was quoted by Sputnik as saying that Turkey’s parliament will highly likely ratify Finland’s NATO accession bid before the May 14 elections.
On his part, the head of Hungary’s ruling faction Fidesz, Mate Kocsis, said that his country’s parliament would vote on Finland’s membership in NATO on March 27.