Sweden and Finland to attend Madrid Nato summit

Sweden and Finland, which have applied to join Nato, will attend the transatlantic alliance's summit in Madrid next month, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday.

Sweden and Finland to attend Madrid Nato summit
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez. Photo: Javier BARBANCHO/AFP

“Of course,” Sanchez replied, when asked at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, if the two nations would send delegations to the June 28-30 gathering.

“They are big democracies, very well established and consolidated democracies, and I think it is also very important for Nato and the European Union to have them on board as NATO allies,” he added.

Spain will speed up its parliamentary procedure to give its backing for the entry of the two nations in the alliance, the prime minister said.

Sweden and Finland applied to join the transatlantic alliance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24.

But all 30 of Nato’s members must approve the enlargement, and Turkey has warned it will not support their applications as things stand.

Ankara has long accused Nordic countries — in particular Sweden, which has a strong Turkish immigrant community — of harbouring outlawed Kurdish militants as well as supporters of Fethullah Gülen, the US-based preacher it accuses of being behind a failed 2016 coup.

Sweden and Finland will send delegations to Ankara this week hoping to resolve the matter, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said earlier on Tuesday.

The two countries’ bids to join Nato constitutes one of the most significant changes in Europe’s security architecture in decades, not least because Finland shares a 1,300-kilometre (800-mile) border with Russia.

Member comments

  1. In what capacity as viewers in the Gallery , and what will happen when Turkey objects to their attendance which it will . Stop making yourselves to look like you are World Players when all you are are good at running inside when the rain comes at midsummer gatherings every year . Lets run for shelter every year . I place ten outside Tents in my garden at my lake house so they don’t have to run inside with their muddy shoes and ruin my Persian Carpets . Grow Up !!

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Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato

Turkey has dropped its objections to Sweden and Finland joining Nato, paving the way for the two Nordic nations to join the North Atlantic defence alliance.

Turkey drops objections to Sweden joining Nato

“We have reached an agreement between Sweden, Turkey and Finland which means that Turkey now accepts that we will be granted invitee status in Nato. That’s important, as it will improve Sweden’s security,” Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said after a meeting in Madrid with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

“It was a very long meeting and Sauli Niinistö and I could describe all the measures we in Sweden have taken regarding terrorism legislation in recent years, and now on July 1st we are tightening that legislation significantly,” Andersson added.

The process of joining Nato requires the approval of all 30 existing members. Turkey had set out a string of demands, including the extradition of what it claims are Kurdish terrorists living in Sweden and a relaxation of Sweden’s ban on selling arms to Turkey. 

In a press release, Nato said that the foreign ministers of Turkey, Sweden and Finland had all signed a trilateral memorandum (find copy here) which addressed “Türkiye’s legitimate security concerns”. 

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said that Nato leaders would as a result now be able to issue a formal invitation to Sweden and Finland to join the alliance. 

“I’m pleased to announce that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join Nato. Turkey, Finland and Sweden have signed a memorandum that addresses Turkey’s concerns, including around arms exports,
and the fight against terrorism,” he said. 

As aspiring Nato members, he added, Finland and Sweden would not give support to the PYD, the Democratic Union Party of Syria, which runs the Autonomous Administration of North and East Syria, and would not support the Gülen movement. 

The agreement commits Sweden and Finland to not supporting the PYD, but only classes the PKK as a terrorist organisation. Turkey has previously insisted on describing the PKK/PYD as a single entity. 

The deal also covers the export of Swedish weapons to Turkey. Sweden has not exported weapons to Turkey in recent years, a decision Turkey interprets as an arms embargo. 

“Turkey, Finland and Sweden confirm that there are no national arms embargoes between them. Sweden is changing its national regulatory framework for arms exports in relation to Nato allies,” the document reads. “In future, defence exports from Finland and Sweden will be conducted in accordance with Alliance solidarity and the letter and spirit of Article 3 of the Washington Treaty.”

“If we become Nato members, of course this will have repercussions on how we interpret Swedish weapons exports legislation,” Andersson conceded at the press conference.  

According to Sweden’s Dagens Nyheter newspaper, Säpo, Sweden’s security police, has drawn up a list of “at least ten” people living in Sweden with links to the Kurdish PKK terror organisation, who can be extradited to Turkey. 

According to the newspaper’s government source, two people with PKK links have already been extradited to Turkey this year, and more could follow.

However, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö stressed to reporters at the press conference that the trilateral deal does not name any individuals who Turkey wants extradited. Instead the agreement commits Sweden and Finland to handling extradition requests “expeditiously and thoroughly”. 

Sweden’s foreign minister, Ann Linde, sent out a celebratory tweet shortly after the announcement. 

She said that the two countries would then start formal accession talks in Brussels next week after which Sweden would officially become a Nato invitee. 

READ ALSO: The next five steps to a Swedish Nato membership