NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is optimistic and confident that Finland and Sweden will eventually join the alliance, despite the fact that the Swedish prime minister said that Turkey requires “things that I cannot fulfill” to lift its veto power against these two countries’ accession. . Stoltenberg made these remarks at the end of the meeting With two senior managers From the European Union, the President of the Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, and the President of the Council, Charles Michel, to sign the third joint declaration of the two regions in which they pledged to continue to support Ukraine militarily to defend itself against the Russian invasion. The meeting did not resolve this situation, despite the special political circumstances that exist at the moment, given that Sweden also holds the rotating presidency of the European Union.
The entry of Finland and Sweden into NATO is a far-reaching political gesture, given the traditions in this area in both countries. Because of the Russian threat, the process has accelerated extraordinarily. last july The current thirty members They were invited to join and within weeks, rather than years as happened in other cases, accession protocols were signed. Since then, 28 countries have ratified the two countries’ applications, with the exception of Turkey and Hungary.
And the latter country, not wanting to get too excited about the sanctions against Russia, promised to hold the parliamentary vote in the first quarter of this year. However, Turkey demanded that Sweden change its policy in receiving Kurdish refugees and extradite Bulent Kines, the former director of the “Today Zaman” newspaper, which it accuses of being involved. Attempted coup 2016, despite the fact that a judge recently refused to extradite him. Sweden and Finland pledged at the NATO summit in Madrid to limit the activities of the Kurds on their soil. Stockholm later lifted an embargo on arms sales to Turkey and distanced itself from the People’s Protection Units, a Syrian group defended by Western countries for its role in fighting the Islamic State group, as demanded by Erdogan.
Last month, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said Sweden was not even halfway to meeting Ankara’s demands, but Sweden’s new conservative Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Monday that “Turkey maintains that we did what we said we would do. But they also say they want Things That we can not and will not give them». The Turkish President, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, did not respond to this assertion, but in any case it is considered that he can change his mind only after the presidential elections scheduled for June.
In any case, Stoltenberg recalled yesterday that despite this blockade, there is no danger that Finland and Sweden will be attacked, given that “the United States and other allies Provided security guarantees Both countries until they become full members. “It is inconceivable that Finland and Sweden would face a military threat without a response from NATO,” he added.
Do not underestimate Russia
However, the tensions caused by Turkey did not prevent the signing of a third joint declaration between the European Union and NATO, which further strengthens the consolidation of Sweden and Finland in the Euro-Atlantic framework. The Declaration intends to further develop their cooperation following the two previous agreements signed in 2016 and 2018. This time it is taking place in the context of Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, and in this sense, the Secretary-General said, “We have seen that Russia suffered heavy losses in Ukraine Because of the brave Ukrainian soldiers. Noting that he was “amassing more forces” and “working hard” to rearm, Stoltenberg said: But we must not underestimate Russia. Unfortunately, “there is no indication that Putin has changed the objective in this cruel war.”
The parties have been working on this declaration for some time, which was initially suggested to be ready before the NATO Leaders Summit held in Madrid in June last year but was postponed, also in part because Turkey sensitivities, which has never been comfortable in facilitating the relations of the alliance – of which it is a part – with the European Union, which it believes it is not allowed to reach. In total, the EU and NATO share 21 members who share similar values and play complementary and reinforcing roles in supporting international peace and security. The Strategic Concept agreed by NATO in 2022 describes the European Union as a unique and essential partner, and calls for an enhanced and enhanced strategic partnership. NATO is not opposed to the Union building its own defense structures, within the Atlantic umbrella.
The alliance signed another joint declaration with European institutions to affirm its support for Ukraine
According to Stoltenberg, “Our statement makes clear that NATO remains the foundation of our collective defense, and essential to Euro-Atlantic security. It also recognizes the value of A more capable European defense, and this contributes positively to our security and is complementary and interoperable with NATO.” Of course, he also noted that “our partnership will be even more important when Finland and Sweden become full members of NATO. The Alliance will then protect 96 per cent of the EU’s citizens and more of its territory than ever before.”
For his part, von der Leyen noted that “the Russian threats and challenges are the most urgent, But they are not the only onesWhereas, “we are also witnessing how China is increasingly trying to reshape the international system in its favour,” so “we must strengthen our ability to resist.”