Netherlands "open and positive" about security guarantees for Sweden, Finland
The Cabinet will look "openly and positively" at any request from Sweden and Finland for security guarantees after they apply for NATO membership, Minister Wopke Hoekstra of Foreign Affairs said in parliament.
He would "understand very well when such a request lands with us." According to Hoekstra, NATO should look at countries in Europe to cooperate in that area. The US and UK have already pledged security guarantees.
Stockholm and Helsinki will likely ask for such guarantees because they will not be protected by NATO in the event of an attack as long as their joining procedure is ongoing. There can be no ratification of accession if a country is in conflict with another country.
VVD parliamentarian Ruben Brekelmans, and others, asked for clarity about the guarantees. He pointed out that Moscow officials are already using threatening language toward Sweden and Finland. Hoekstra believes that both countries should be able to join NATO quickly.
The Minister sees few obstacles in the countries' way to joining NATO. He believes it is possible to arrange it quickly. All 30 countries of the Atlantic Alliance have to agree to let them enter.
After being neutral for decades, the Russian invasion of Ukraine prompted Sweden and Finland to look to NATO. Russia is vehemently against their NATO membership.
Reporting by ANP.