Canada is the first of the alliance’s 30 members to formally approve the applications
Canadian lawmakers voted in favor of NATO membership for Sweden/Finland after the US-led military coalition met in Brussels to agree to the accession protocol for both Nordic countries.
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the move on Tuesday, stating that Canada’s House of Commons took up the issue “as quickly as possible”They voted unanimously in favor of the joining the alliance.
“Today, Canada became the first country to ratify the Accession Protocols of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. This brings the two countries a step closer to full membership,” the PM said, adding that Ottawa has “full confidence” both nations will “integrate quickly and effectively into NATO and contribute to the alliance’s collective defence.”
Trudeau’s comments come after NATO leaders met in Belgium earlier in the day to sign the protocols, which must be ratified by the parliaments of each member state. Although Canada was able to ratify the protocol within hours of meeting with NATO leaders, it could take many months for the entire process to be completed as there are many countries involved in the negotiations.
Finland and Sweden rejected their tradition of neutrality by applying for NATO membership earlier in the year. This was due to security concerns following Russia’s February invasion of Ukraine. They were welcomed by most of the members, but their applications were rescinded after Turkey accused them both of harbouring Kurdish militants. “terrorism.”
Ankara warned repeatedly, but Turkey stopped its objections after Ankara signed a 10-point deal between the Nordic countries. It included promises to resolve terrorist allegations, remove Turkish export restrictions, and other items. The deal appears to have resolved the impasse, though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he could block the process again if his country’s demands are not met.