USA to vote on Sweden and Finland’s Nato applications

The US Senate will vote on Sweden and Finland's applications to join the Nato alliance on August 3rd.

USA to vote on Sweden and Finland's Nato applications
US President Joe Biden, centre, with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, left, and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto, right, after speaking at the White House in Washington in May. Photo: AP Photo/Andrew Harnik

“The US is the leading country in Nato, so it sends an important signal,” Dag Blanck, professor of North American Studies at Uppsala University, told TT news wire.

According to Reuters, the senate will vote on whether to approve or deny Sweden and Finland’s applications on Wednesday evening.

It seems unlikely that the US would vote against Sweden and Finland joining the alliance. There is broad support in both parties for accepting the countries’ bids to join Nato.

“The vast majority of Republicans and Democrats are in favour of Sweden joining Nato. It would be very surprising if they didn’t approve this,” Blanck said.

Only a few Republican senators have indicated that they will vote against the two countries joining.

“It’s not a lot of Republicans,” Blanck told TT. “There are some who on principle are against Nato expansion and the US’ engagement worldwide. So it’s nothing to do with Sweden, primarily,” he said.

Blanck believes that Sweden and Finland joining Nato is seen chiefly as a strengthening of the defence alliance. That is to say, it’s seen by many in the US as a positive development on a strategic, military and geographic level.

Sweden and Finland were invited to join the alliance on June 29th. All Nato members have now signed the two countries’ applications, but now each member’s parliament must also ratify accession protocols.

The speed at which this process can be carried out varies among member states, with 20 of 30 states having already approved Sweden and Finland’s application.

Once all Nato members have ratified accession protocols for each country, proof of ratification must be submitted to the US government, after which Sweden and Finland will become formal members of the Nato alliance.

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Swedish motorists receive mystery air raid warning

Swedish motorists were left puzzled this week after mistakenly receiving an air raid warning, an incident authorities termed "serious" on Thursday given the war in Ukraine and Russia's irritation over Sweden's Nato bid.

Swedish motorists receive mystery air raid warning

“We are in the process of investigating how it happened”, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Transport Administration told AFP.

The alert was sent out on Wednesday on a so-called Traffic Message Channel, a system currently being phased out in Sweden that allows motorists to receive traffic updates via their car radio.

The message was sent out in the southern county of Blekinge, which is home to one of Sweden’s biggest air force bases.

“Important traffic message, Blekinge county: Air raid, danger”, appeared on vehicle dashboards, preceded by a danger triangle.

Media outlets then contacted the Transport Administration, informing it that the warning that had been sent out.

It was not immediately known how many motorists received the message. The Transport Administration said it knew “very little” about how it happened, but considered it “serious” given the current situation in the Nordic country and the war in Ukraine.

Moscow has reacted frostily to Sweden’s decision to abandon two centuries of military non-alliance and seek Nato membership following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February.

Russian military aircraft have violated Swedish airspace on several occasions this year before the country formally submitted its Nato application.

Sweden in 2018 reissued a wartime pamphlet to all households advising Swedes how to act in the event of a major crisis or conflict, despite the fact that the country has not experienced a war on its soil in more than 200 years.