The process of Finland’s accession to NATO is accelerating. Last Minute EUROPE, CURRENT, Russian news and events
The process of Finland’s accession to NATO is accelerating after Turkey’s proposal “Let’s consider the membership of Finland and Sweden separately.” While the NATO membership bill was being debated in the Finnish parliament, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg traveled to Helsinki and met with the president, prime minister and party representatives.
After meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that contacts between Turkey and the two Scandinavian countries had resumed and said: “Now it is clear that these two countries have fulfilled their obligations. It’s time to ratify the agreement. Stoltenberg said that Ukraine would also join NATO “in the long term”.
Jens Stoltenberg attended the meeting of the Scandinavian Social Democrats (SAMAK) in Helsinki and made a joint press statement with the chairman of the Social Democratic Party, Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Stoltenberg, who was invited by Marin, will also meet Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Foreign Minister Pekke Haavisto after speaking at the SAMAK meeting.
Welcoming Stoltenberg at a summit held in Helsinki with Scandinavian leaders, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin said that the situation in Ukraine and the membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO are on the agenda of the summit.
Prime Minister Marin said that Finland supports Ukraine and will continue to provide support with weapons.
Stating that Turkey has made progress on Sweden and Finland’s NATO membership, Stoltenberg said that both countries have met the terms of the agreement signed in Madrid and that “the time has come to ratify the membership agreements.”
Pointing out that Turkey and Hungary signed the accession protocols at the June summit, as did other members, Stoltenberg said: “Of course, this is a decision of sovereign parliaments. Obviously, these two countries have fulfilled their obligations. time to ratify them. A few weeks ago in Ankara with President Erdogan. “I am glad that President Erdogan has agreed to resume negotiations,” he said.
Referring to the meeting of a delegation led by presidential adviser Ibrahim Kalin with the delegations of Sweden and Finland in Brussels on 9 March, the Secretary General said: “I believe that progress will be made.”
Asked by the Finnish press “when their country can really become a full member of NATO”, Stoltenberg replied: “I cannot give an exact date, but we hope that this will happen as soon as possible. we are doing everything possible. Hungary said it would approve. My message: “The time has come to ratify, the NATO accession agreements of both countries should be ratified as soon as possible.”
“We want this to happen before the summit in Vilnius”
Prime Minister Sanna Marin also said: “We want NATO to be before the Vilnius summit. But we don’t know when that will happen. Now it’s in their hands.”
Sanna Marin, when asked about the approval process in Hungary, stated that they had not received a request for approval and said: “Because each country has its own agenda and calendar, we expect the time given for approval to come.”
The Hungarian government, which had been postponing the approval date, finally gave the signal that the vote would take place in March.
“Ukraine will be a member of NATO in the long term”
NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg also told reporters that Ukraine “will be a member of the alliance in the long term.” At the same time, he stressed that the urgent problem is “the preservation of an independent state in the face of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.”
“NATO allies have agreed that Ukraine will be a member of our alliance, but this is also a long-term perspective,” Stoltenberg said.
Finland advances alone
After Turkey’s statement “We are ready to ratify Finland”, the process of Helsinki’s sole membership in NATO accelerated.
Protests in Stockholm, including the burning of a Koran in front of the Turkish embassy, reduced the likelihood of Sweden’s approval.
In the decision of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, adopted at the Madrid summit in June last year, the 28 member countries of NATO approved the accession agreements in their national parliaments.
On the other hand, Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified membership agreements in their respective parliaments for various reasons. Although Hungary announced that it would approve it first in December and then in February, it finally signaled that it would approve it in March.
Ankara, in particular, does not approve of the agreement, arguing that Sweden has not taken the steps it took under the Memorandum of Understanding signed in Madrid. A trilateral reconciliation meeting will be held in Brussels on 9 March.
Elections in Finland on 2 April.
The Helsinki administration, taking into account the possibility of forming a new government, is working to get this approval before the country’s elections on April 2.
This week, the Finnish parliament is considering a bill that would provide for NATO membership. The bill is expected to pass without much opposition, as the initial bid for membership in May was supported by 188 of the 200 members of parliament.
The passage of the bill does not mean that Finland will automatically join NATO once it is ratified by Turkey and Hungary, but it does set a deadline for which it can wait.
Finnish Justice Minister Tuomas Poisti also said that after the bill is approved by parliament, the president can wait a maximum of three months to sign the law.
President Sauli Niinistö told reporters last week that he plans to sign the law “as soon as it is approved by parliament” and hinted that he would wait for Turkey’s approval, saying “I can wait if there are practical reasons.”
The Finnish left argues that the government can sign this agreement only in agreement with Sweden. But according to a survey conducted in early February, most Finns say they want their country to join NATO, even if Sweden’s membership is delayed.
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