Defense Min. wants quick decision on Finland, Sweden's NATO membership
If Sweden and Finland decide to apply for NATO membership, the alliance should decide on that "as soon as possible," said Minister Kajsa Ollongren of Defense on Thursday. She would welcome such a move from the northern countries.
The countries meet the criteria for NATO membership. They are democratic constitutional states, they have no internal conflicts, and they have no corruption, according to the Minister. In addition, both countries are members of the European Union and already work closely with NATO. According to her, joining the alliance would be a "logical step" for both countries.
It normally takes a while before a country can become a member of NATO. The 30 member states must all ratify the decision. But Ollongren believes that Sweden and Finland should be able to join quickly to avoid sitting too long in the NATO waiting room during this time of high tensions.
On a visit to Stockholm on Wednesday, Finland's prime minister said that her country would decide on NATO membership within weeks. Sweden has been neutral for 200 years. The ruling Social Democratic party announced this week that it would reassess its position on NATO membership.
Reporting by ANP