Berlin Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has raised the prospect of Germany quickly agreeing to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. It is very important to her that “at this special moment, which is really historic for these states, we should not experience a deadlock,” said the Green politician on Sunday when the 30 NATO foreign ministers arrived in Berlin for consultations. “That’s why we as the Federal Republic, that’s why we as the Federal Government have prepared everything for a very, very fast ratification process.”
This step would take place after the completion of the internal NATO process for the admission of the two Nordic countries – in Germany, the approval of the Bundestag is required for ratification. Baerbock said the federal government had already spoken to all democratic parties in parliament.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced in Helsinki on Sunday that the country will apply to join the military alliance. The Finnish parliament still has to approve the move, but a majority is considered safe. Niinistö spoke several times on Sunday of a “historic day” for the Scandinavian country. “A new era is beginning,” said the President. Sweden has not yet officially commented on its intentions.
Turkey had previously reiterated its reservations about Finland and Sweden joining NATO, but signaled its willingness to talk. Turkey is demanding security guarantees for Sweden and Finland’s admission to NATO, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Sunday.
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In addition, export restrictions would have to be lifted. In addition, both countries should stop supporting terrorism. Finland and Sweden support “terror organizations” such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK and the Kurdish militia YPG in Syria, according to the foreign minister.
Putin threatens consequences
The day before, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had said that Scandinavian countries were downright “guesthouses for terrorist organizations”. Baerbock expressed his irritation at Turkey’s positioning.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has threatened Finland with consequences if it joins NATO. In a telephone conversation with Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö, he called the plans a mistake. Russia does not pose a threat to the neighboring country, Putin emphasized during the talks on Saturday, according to the Kremlin. Finland’s departure from traditional neutrality will lead to a deterioration in the previously good neighborly relations.
Finland’s Foreign Minister Haavisto and his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde are guests at the NATO consultations in Berlin. Russia’s invasion of Ukraine triggered an intense NATO debate in both countries.
Regarding Turkey’s allegations, Finn Haavisto said the fight against terrorism is a very important issue for his country. As evidence, he cited Finland’s participation in the international coalition against the terrorist organization Islamic State (IS).
Asselborn: Rebirth of NATO thanks to Putin
Luxembourg’s Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called on Turkey at the weekend in Berlin to give up its resistance to the possible admission of Sweden and Finland. “If both countries want that, and that seems to be going in this direction, then none of the 30 countries can oppose it,” he said, referring to the NATO member states. Asselborn emphasized: “NATO is developing from brain death in 2019 to rebirth in 2022 – thanks to Putin.”
Asselborn was referring to statements by French President Emmanuel Macron. He had repeatedly publicly described the defense alliance as “brain dead” and left no doubt up until the Ukraine war that he was more interested in building a European defense union than in strengthening NATO in the long term.
Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra called for unity and calm. “In cases like this, it’s always important to stay cool and composed,” he said. “This is clearly a time when unity is required.” Basically, however, he was optimistic. He is sure that unity can be delivered on the subject, he said. Norway’s Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt spoke of a “historic moment” with regard to Finland’s and Sweden’s intentions to join.
Greece also supports Sweden’s and Finland’s plans for NATO membership. “Greece has excellent relations with these two countries, which are also members of the European Union,” said Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias on his arrival in Berlin for the NATO special meeting. Greece has a clear stance on the matter. We are ready to welcome the two countries into the NATO family. The two states have a lot to offer.
Slovakia is also optimistic. We are convinced that all NATO countries will support Sweden and Finland’s plans for membership in the alliance. That’s what Slovak Foreign Minister Ivan Korcok says. Slovakia is absolutely ready to look at the applications and support membership of these two countries.
Korcok also advocates further military aid to Ukraine. When asked how long the NATO allies could support Ukraine, he said: “Until she wins.” Russia lost the war politically.
More: You can read all developments in the Ukraine crisis in the news blog.