Sweden and Finland will ‘complete journey into Nato together’

The prime ministers of Sweden and Finland have reiterated their countries' commitment to join the Nato security alliance together, despite the greater obstacles faced by Sweden in winning Turkey's acceptance.

Sweden and Finland will 'complete journey into Nato together'
Finalnd's prime minister Sanna Marin and Sweden's prime minister Ulf Kristersson hold a joint press conference at the Villa Bjälbo in Helsingfors, Helsinki. Photo: Jonas Ekströmer/TT

“We will complete this journey together, and move in lockstep, just as we have the whole time,” Sweden’s new prime minister Ulf Kristersson said during a visit to his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin in Helsinki. 

“It is extremely important for us that Finland and Sweden join Nato in lockstep, just as we have done in this process up until now,” Marin said after the two met at the Villa Bjälbo in the city. “Our membership is going to make the whole Alliance stronger.” 

During his visit, Kristersson also met Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö, who has also played an important role in bringing Sweden and Finland into the alliance. 

Finland’s prime minister Sanna Marin met her Swedish counterpart Ulf Kristersson at the Kesaranta prime minister official residence in Helsinki. Photo: Vesa Moilanen/Lehtikuva/AP/TT

The AFP newswire reported on Friday that Kristersson is expected to meet Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara on November 8th to discuss Sweden’s moves to fulfil the demands of the trilateral agreement the three countries struck in June. 

Turkey and Hungary are the only two of Nato’s 30 members who have not yet ratified Sweden and Finland’s entry to the security alliance. 

After the meeting, Kristersson thanked Marin for a productive meeting, saying that he looked forward to continued cooperation “on our mutual security”, as well as on “forests, climate, energy, and other issues which will determine Europe’s competitiveness”. 

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Swedish PM to seek explanation from Hungary on Nato delay

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said on Thursday he would seek an explanation from Hungary about why it is delaying its parliament's ratification of Sweden's Nato bid but not Finland's.

Swedish PM to seek explanation from Hungary on Nato delay

“I’m going to ask why they are now separating Sweden from Finland. These are signals we have not received before, so I’m absolutely going to raise this with (Hungarian prime minister Viktor) Orbán today,” Kristersson told public broadcaster Sveriges Radio.

Orbán and Kristersson are both attending an EU summit in Brussels on Thursday.

Helsinki and Stockholm ended decades of military non-alignment last May when they decided to join the Atlantic alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Their applications were accepted at a June Nato summit that signalled the Western world’s desire to stand up to Russia in the face of Europe’s gravest conflict since World War II.

But the bids need to be ratified by all 30 of the alliance members’ parliaments, which only Turkey and Hungary have yet to do.

Orbán’s ruling Fidesz party has said parliament will ratify Finland’s bid on March 27th, but “will decide on the case of Sweden later”.

On Thursday, Orbán’s chief-of-staff Gergely Gulyás told reporters there was “a serious chance” the Swedish bid would be ratified during the ongoing parliamentary session which runs until June 15.

Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has meanwhile also asked parliament to quickly ratify Finland’s bid, but has held up Sweden’s following a litany of disputes.