Sweden and Finland ‘can count on German support’ for Nato bid

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has promised to support a future Swedish and Finnish application to join Nato, as he hosted the Swedish and Finnish prime ministers near Berlin.

Sweden and Finland 'can count on German support' for Nato bid
Germany chancellor Olaf Scholz holds a joint press conference with Finnish PM Sanna Marin (left) and Swedish PM Magdalena Andersson at the Schloss Meseberg outside Berlin. Photo: Michael Kappeler

“They can count on our full support,” Scholz said after his meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin at the Meseberg castle outside Berlin. “We are following the debate in each country carefully, but it is of course Sweden and Finland who will decide.” 

Andersson thanked Scholz for his support. 

“This is of course an important statement, this increases Sweden’s room for movement,” she said. “The security situation requires even closer cooperation between the countries around the Baltic, within the EU, and together with our transatlantic partners.” 

She held back from giving any hint as to whether Sweden was likely to decide to join the Nato alliance. “The analysis includes future international defence partnerships, including Nato. All alternatives are still on the table,” she said. 

Andersson and Marin were in Germany to participate in a two-day meeting of Germany’s government. 

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Sweden’s PM Magdalena Andersson meets President Biden on US visit

US President Joe Biden on Thursday welcomed the leaders of Finland and Sweden in a strong show of support for their bids to join Nato in the face of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Sweden's PM Magdalena Andersson meets President Biden on US visit

To the pomp of a red carpet and military honor guard, Biden received Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto just days after they officially said they would seek to join the US-backed alliance.

The three leaders are expected to speak to reporters after talks in the Oval Office.

Sweden and Finland, while solidly Western, have historically kept a distance from Nato as part of longstanding policies aimed at avoiding angering Russia.

But the two nations both moved ahead amid shock over their giant neighbor’s invasion of Ukraine, which had unsuccessfully sought to join Nato.

Biden on Wednesday said he “strongly” supported the membership of Sweden and Finland in the alliance, which considers an attack on one member an attack on all.

“While their applications for Nato membership are being considered, the United States will work with Finland and Sweden to remain vigilant against any threats to our shared security, and to deter and confront aggression or the threat of aggression,” he said in a statement.

US President Joe Biden welcomes Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (R) and Finland’s President Sauli Niinisto to the White House on May 19, 2022. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images/AFP

In the United States it is up to the Senate to ratify treaties and there is wide support for the membership of Sweden and Finland, with votes likely before a Nato summit next month in Madrid.

But Turkey has voiced misgivings about the membership of the two countries, accusing them of supporting “terrorism” due to the presence of Kurdish militants.

All 30 current members of Nato would need to agree to the Swedish and Finnish bids.