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Sweden and Finland one step away from NATO

Sweden and Finland one step away from NATO

Sweden and Finland are one step away from NATO after the representatives of the 30 member countries signed the accession protocols for the two Nordic countries to join the alliance.

"This is truly a historic moment. For Finland, for Sweden, for NATO and for our common security", said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, about the most important expansion of the alliance in decades.

Sweden and Finland one step away from NATO

Canada was the first country to ratify the accession protocols, with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau urging allies to move quickly to complete their ratification processes to limit opportunities for interference by opponents.

Sweden and Finland applied for membership in May, but their bid hit a snag when Turkish President Erdogan demanded the countries extradite members of a Kurdish rebel group that Turkey considers terrorists.

The three countries reached a joint agreement last week, which Sweden and Finland promised to respect.

"We will fully respect the memorandum. Of course, there are no lists or anything like that in the memorandum, but what we will do is to have better cooperation when it comes to terrorists," said Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde at a press conference.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine in February prompted historically neutral Sweden and Finland to apply for NATO membership. If their application is approved and they join, Russia's border with NATO countries would be doubled.