Finland And Sweden Submit Their Applications To Join NATO
| Last updated
Featured Image Credit: @FinMissionNato/Twitter/Getty
Sweden and Finland have formally submitted their applications to join 28 European states, the United States, and Canada in becoming members of NATO.
The applications were personally accepted by NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg at the headquarters of the military alliance in Haren, in the north-east of Brussels, shortly after 8:00am local time today (18 May).
Sweden’s ambassador to NATO, Axel Wernhoff, and his Finnish colleague Klaus Korhonen were the ones to hand over the applications after they had been signed by their respective foreign ministers, Ann Linde and Pekka Haavisto.
Stoltenberg described the receipt of the applications as a 'historic step' and a 'good day at a critical time for our safety', adding: "I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO. You are our closest partners."
The secretary general explained the interests of 'all allies' have to be taken into account and assured NATO is 'determined to work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions'.
"Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by Allies committing to Finland’s and Sweden’s security.
NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region, and NATO and Allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary. All allies agree on the importance of Nato enlargement. We all agree that we must stand together and we all agree that this is an historic moment which we must seize," he added.
NATO ambassadors are expected to discuss the applications today, at which point they could give the green light on opening formal talks with Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö and Swedish prime minister, Magdalena Andersson.
On Thursday, the two leaders are due to travel to Washington to meet with US president Joe Biden and discuss their countries' applications, as well as European security more broadly.
In order to become members of NATO, Finland and Sweden must receive unanimous approval of all the alliance’s members - a stipulation which may be problematic for the countries as Turkey has already said it will not support the applications.
Turkey's capital Ankara based its opposition on Sweden and Finland's alleged support for members of Kurdish militant groups, as well as previous decisions to place an embargo on arms over Turkey’s military operations in Syria, however Western allies have expressed belief they can overcome the objections.
It typically takes between eight and 12 months for NATO accession, though the alliance has said it wants to move quickly due to the ongoing threat from Russia following its invasion of Ukraine.
If you have a story you want to tell, send it to UNILAD via [email protected]