The two Nordic countries will be able to become members of the Alliance quickly, he said, as soon as they apply to join the club. “If they decide to apply, Finland and Sweden will be very welcome and I hope that the process fast forward“, Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels, adding that he planned to speak with the Finnish president later that day. In the midst of parliamentary debate in both Scandinavian countries about the possibility of joining NATO, which has had the response of Russia that says the country will have “more officially registered opponents,” the Atlantic secretary-general has hoped to find an “arrangement” to cover the period from when they ask to join the organization and their entry is formally ratified.
“I’m sure there are ways to address this interim period in a way that works for Sweden and Finland”, he assured in statements from the European Parliament together with the president, Roberta Metzola, where he will participate in the meeting of presidents of parliamentary groups. At this time, these types of contacts are taking place with the Atlantic Alliance with the aim that “there is no uncertainty” for Sweden and Finland when it comes to “choosing your own path”, the former Norwegian prime minister has indicated. “When Russia tries to intimidate Sweden and Finland from applying to NATO, she shows how she does not respect the right of each nation to make its own decisions,” he stressed. As on other occasions, Stoltenberg has insisted that if both Nordic countries take the step of formally requesting their entry into NATO, the process will be “quick” and has insisted that both are the closest partners to NATO and participate regularly on missions and operations. The Prime Minister of Finland, sanna marin, has indicated this Thursday that the country would add “considerable” defensive capabilities to NATO if it joins, given the possibility that Helsinki joins the Alliance in the framework of the Russian invasion of Ukraine. Marin has reiterated that the decision on joining NATO “will be made soon”, according to the newspaper ‘Iltalehti’. The Russian invasion of Ukraine has accelerated the debate in Sweden and Finland about NATO membership, and both have indeed launched a parliamentary process to build consensus on the issue. Stockholm and Helsinki maintain contacts to jointly present their respective applications to join NATO in mid-May, taking advantage of the meeting of allied foreign ministers in Berlin, just a month and a half before the leaders’ summit in Madrid at the end of June, where more steps can be taken.