May 24. 2024. 6:17

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Sweden, Finland agree to drop joint NATO bid: media reports


Finland and Sweden have abandoned their joint approach to NATO membership and agreed that Finland will join first, Iltalehti reported.

On Tuesday, the tabloid newspaper Iltalehti ran a scoop with unnamed sources, claiming Sweden had given Finland “permission” to join NATO first in case Turkey and Hungary ratify Finland’s agreement but keep Sweden waiting.

Still, Finland and Sweden will keep each other informed about their NATO processes, while Sweden has offered political support if it becomes evident Finland could proceed faster towards membership.

Finland and Sweden’s joint NATO membership bid has been delayed for some time, particularly due to Turkey’s demands on Sweden, including the deportation of alleged ‘terrorists’ and outrage over the burning of a Quran near the Turkish Embassy.

Additionally, on Tuesday in Brussels, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg was asked whether both countries’ accession to NATO at different paces would be acceptable.

Stoltenberg said that simultaneous ratifications would indeed not be “necessary” for the military alliance. “The main thing is that both would be accepted as full members as soon as possible,” he added.

After Stoltenberg’s formulation, Matti Pesu, a Finnish Institute of International Affairs researcher, tweeted that “a signal coming from NATO changed.”

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)