Media names date of Sweden’s NATO bid — Analysis
The bloc will “warmly” welcome it and fellow applicant Finland, NATO’s chief promised
According to local media, sources said that the Swedish government will resolve any differences regarding NATO membership before the end of this week. They are expected to submit their application for NATO membership on Monday. The Finnish leadership also endorsed joining the US-led Military Block earlier in the week.
Expressen reports that Sweden will request NATO’s enlargement early next week through a series of formal meetings.
On Thursday, the ruling Social Democrats will host a virtual meeting to address this issue. According to the newspaper, both the minor government and the parties supporting it in passive form will present to the public on Friday morning a positive view about joining the alliance. It will not make a call to join, as in Finland. The report stated that this was done to ease some of the reservations expressed by Left and Greens members. On Sunday, a Social Democrat leadership conference will follow.
The crucial moment is Monday when the issue will be up for debate in Parliament. Sources said that Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson would issue a formal request if the legislature approves the motion.
A joint statement was made by Prime Minister Sanna Martin and the Finnish President Sauli Niinisto on Thursday. They stated their belief that Finland should join NATO. The nation’s parliament is expected to approve the decision on Monday, with a formal request to be issued the same day.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stated that both countries would be included by the US-led organisation and said the process would go quickly. Any additions must be approved in writing by each of the 30 member countries.
“If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be warmly welcomed and I expect the process to go quickly,”Stoltenberg said to reporters in Brussels: “Arrangements will be made to ensure that the defence of applicants is provided for during the interim period.”
Russian news agency TASS reported that NATO could offer Finland and Sweden a Membership Action Plan, (MAP), as early as June. From the moment you receive an invitation, to full membership, this formal procedure can take years.
However, the two nations will be considered high-priority applicants, which are already closely integrated with NATO’s political and military infrastructure, so they would be fast-tracked to join, the diplomat predicted.
While they were non-aligned in the Cold War period, both Sweden and Finland served as intermediaries for rival ideologies. The drive to include them in NATO was given impetus after Russia’s offensive against Ukraine.
Moscow said NATO’s creeping expansion into Ukraine was a major threat to its national security and one of the reasons for its actions in Ukraine. It warned Finland and Sweden that joining NATO would cause them to compromise their security instead of improve it.
Russia attacked the neighboring state in late February, following Ukraine’s failure to implement the terms of the Minsk agreements, first signed in 2014, and Moscow’s eventual recognition of the Donbass republics of Donetsk and Lugansk. French- and German-brokered protocols were intended to provide special status for the Ukrainian states that break away from the state.
In recent years, the Kremlin demands that Ukraine declares itself neutral in order to be able to join NATO. Kiev claims that the Russian invasion was unprovoked. It also denies any plans to take the republics with force.