The delay in the ratification of Finland and Sweden’s North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) membership bid harms the alliance’s credibility, Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said here on Tuesday.
“We (Finland and Sweden) would have hoped to become members of NATO already,” she said. “Finland and Sweden fulfill all the criteria as it has been mentioned, and we are yet waiting. Of course, this strains the open-door policy of NATO; it’s also to do with NATO’s credibility,” Marin said during a joint press conference with visiting NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin (L) speaks at a press conference with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson in Stockholm, Sweden, on Feb. 2, 2023. (Ninni Andersson/Government Offices of Sweden/Handout via Xinhua)
Finland and Sweden jointly submitted their NATO membership bids in May last year. So far, 28 of NATO’s 30 current members have ratified the applications. Türkiye and Hungary have yet to formally endorse the two countries’ accession.
Stoltenberg reiterated that Finland and Sweden’s rapid admission is now the alliance’s number one priority. He said that representatives of Türkiye, Finland and Sweden are scheduled to meet at NATO headquarters in Brussels next week. However, this does not guarantee a breakthrough and the final decision rests with Türkiye and Hungary, Stoltenberg said.
Stoltenberg was in Helsinki to attend the annual meeting of SAMAK, the co-operation committee of the Nordic Social Democratic parties.