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When will Sweden and Finland join NATO?

11.08.2022
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https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/when-will-sweden-and-finland-join-nato-tracking-the-ratification-process-across-the-alliance/

After the US Senate approved the admission of two new members to NATO on August 3, 23 NATO countries have already approved the Alliance. There are not many countries left that are still considering an enlargement document.

CZECH REPUBLIC: wait for the end of September

The fact that the Czech Republic has not yet ratified the accession of Finland and Sweden to NATO is due solely to procedural reasons. While ratification requires only two-thirds of the US Senate, in the case of the Czech Republic it must pass through the government, both houses of parliament and the president. And this process was slowed down by the parliamentary summer holidays. The Czech Senate can discuss the issue of ratification as early as August 10, and the Chamber of Deputies either on August 23 or after September 5. Most likely, before the end of September, the Czech Republic will ratify the membership of Finland and Sweden.

SLOVAKIA: another target for September

Procedural reasons also explain why several other countries, including Slovakia, have not yet ratified Finland's and Sweden's accession to NATO. The government in Bratislava approved the amended treaty at the end of July, and Parliament (there is only one chamber) is expected to discuss it in early September at its first regular meeting after the summer holidays. Some opposition figures may try to earn some political points by criticizing NATO, but it is generally assumed that this proposal will be accepted. President Zuzana Chaputova will undoubtedly support him very soon.

GREECE: expect a positive decision by the end of the year

Athens supports the entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO due to geopolitical considerations. The Greek Parliament is expected to ratify the amended NATO treaty when it resumes work after the summer break. It is not yet clear when the vote will take place, but it is expected to take place before the end of the year.

TURKEY: Expect new combinations in 2023

Three considerations unique to Turkey will influence the pace of ratification of Sweden and Finland joining NATO.

The first consideration will be how Sweden and Finland act to fulfill the commitments they made regarding Turkish security and the fight against terrorism in the June 28 tripartite memorandum. The speed of ratification will be related to specific actions on defense industrial cooperation (lifting the arms embargo), prosecution of funding and recruitment activities associated with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and other terrorist organizations, and the establishment of a Permanent Joint Mechanism to oversee cooperation in the field of security.

The second consideration is the 2023 presidential and legislative elections; President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will try not to appear too soft or hasty in his accession.

The third consideration is a potential Turkish military operation against the PKK in Syria. The fact that the accession process is ongoing but not yet completed will dampen some Western criticism of the new operation, but there will come a point where a perceived delay may, on the contrary, lead to increased Western frustration and pressure.

These considerations combine to support the idea that Ankara will be one of, if not the last NATO member to approve of joining. By all indications, Turkey can be expected to take anywhere from eight to twenty months after Ankara is satisfied that Sweden and Finland have taken significant steps to implement the June 28 memorandum. This could happen shortly after the national elections in Turkey in June 2023.

HUNGARY: Orban will take a decisive step, but only at the end

The membership of Finland and Sweden in NATO does not arouse enthusiasm in Hungary. Prime Minister Viktor Orban is likely to be the last to ratify the agreement. Yes, it is his decision and only his. However, in the end, he ratifies it.

When asked about ratification, he stated that he must "take into account Turkey's sensitivity". He believes NATO's open door policy is a provocation for Russia and an unfulfilled promise from the West. The timing of ratification remains open and unclear.

 

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