NATO prepares fast track – Swedish membership in two weeks

NATO is preparing to be able to process applications from Sweden and Finland quickly, sources for the Norwegian Verdens Gang state. The goal is said to be to reduce the processing time from months to weeks.

– We want everything to be done so that ratification in the member states can take place as soon as possible, says Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (S).

According to the newspaper’s diplomatic sources, the process between a formal application and a formal invitation from NATO can be as short as two weeks. The sources state that NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg’s staff in Brussels, in cooperation with the member countries of the NATO Council, are working to shrink the time window to the maximum.

The assessment is that during that time you must have at least one formal negotiation meeting with the applicant countries to complete formalities.

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Wants fast signal

A formal invitation must be approved by all 30 NATO governments before it can be handed over to Sweden and Finland. After the formal invitation is completed, membership must be approved by the parliaments of all NATO countries and Sweden and Finland. It can take many months, writes VG.

However, Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre wants ratification to take place as soon as possible.

– From the Norwegian side, the attitude is that if Sweden and Finland apply for membership, we want a quick and positive signal from NATO. We want everything to be done so that ratification in the member states can take place as soon as possible, says Jonas Gahr Støre (S) during the Indo-Nordic summit in Copenhagen.

Gahr Støre says that the Nordic neighbors will be first in line to approve membership, if Sweden and Finland decide to join the defense alliance.

– From our side, it can happen at short notice. We are very prepared for that. It will depend on how the preparations have been made by NATO and I understand that work is being done on that, says Jonas Gahr Støre.

According to the Prime Minister, the Norwegian parliament can ratify the membership of neighboring countries before the summer, but he does not want to discuss any dates. He does not think that any member state will put any sticks in the wheel.

– I think that all 30 NATO countries know that Sweden and Finland are already close partners. Sweden and Finland meet all the criteria (for membership), says Jonas Gahr Støre.

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No special treatment

Gahr Støre also does not see it as Sweden and Finland being treated differently.

– I do not feel that it is a special treatment because the criteria for becoming a member of NATO meet these countries so clearly. You do not have to carry out a long study to establish it, says Jonas Gahr Støre and continues:

– Then there is a special security policy situation where there is a war of aggression from Russia against a country in Europe.

Only when all parliaments have given the green light will Sweden’s and Finland’s membership become formal and NATO’s security guarantee fully valid.

– It is with membership Article 5 comes into force, says Jonas Gahr Støre to VG.

– But if NATO’s 30 member countries of the NATO Council welcome them, and the larger countries have done so with weight, then it is a good insurance on the way to membership.

NATO Heads of State and Government will hold a summit in Madrid at the end of June. If the formal invitation is then ready, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson will be invited to the summit.