BRUSSELS (Reuters) – Finnish President Sauli Niinisto is expected to say on Thursday whether his country should join the NATO alliance, and Sweden will follow suit with its decision in the coming days.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has pushed Finland and Sweden to the brink of applying for NATO membership and abandoning the decades-old belief that peace was best maintained by not publicly choosing sides.
Both countries are close partners of NATO, as they have been involved in allied exercises for years. Any accession process is expected to be much shorter than previous applications to join the alliance since the 1950s. NATO was founded in 1949.
Although there is no set deadline, here are the steps in the NATO accession process that would apply to Helsinki and Stockholm:
FINLAND AND SWEDEN SUBMIT A COMPANY APPLICATION
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NATO officials and diplomats say the two countries should ideally submit their applications together, probably as letters sent to NATO headquarters, to simplify the bureaucratic procedure.
Representatives of the 30 allies are meeting in Brussels to discuss, and most likely accept, the application for membership.
While many other aspirants, such as Ukraine and Georgia, have been asked to make reforms before an application for membership can be accepted, Finland and Sweden are considered successful democracies with military standards that meet EU standards. ‘NATO.
PARTNER TALKS BEGIN; “YOUR MARRIAGES” ARE MADE.
This is likely to happen in Brussels at NATO headquarters, taking only one day for each country, which pledges to abide by the terms of the founding NATO Treaty of NATO. The two countries are already considered to be “contributing to the security of the North Atlantic area”, as required by the treaty.
Informally known as NATO’s “marriage vows”, Helsinki and Stockholm officials are answering questions about whether they would keep NATO’s collective defense promise that an attack on an ally is an attack on all.
They should also agree to pay their share of NATO budgets, participate in NATO defense planning, and promise to abide by the rules on classified information.
NATO REPRESENTATIVES MEET AGAIN
The 30 allies would likely grant Finland and Sweden membership in NATO, giving them observer status at all Allied meetings. However, they are not yet covered by NATO’s collective defense guarantee.
All allied parliaments must ratify the approval of members of national governments. This can take between four months and a year, depending on the election, bureaucratic delays, and summer breaks. Following the “deposit of ratification” by all allies, both Finland and Sweden must also deposit their “instrument of accession” with the US State Department, eventually making the two countries NATO allies.
(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Alison Williams)
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