North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has stated that countries like Sweden and Finland could be fast-tracked for membership if they wish to apply to the alliance.
Secretary-General Stoltenberg stated that countries like Sweden and Finland were the closest to existing NATO alliance members and the process for approving them as member of the alliance would be much quicker than other applicants as a result.
“I can’t say how long it will take, but it can be quick if they want to,” Stoltenberg said and added, “I’m confident that we will find ways to deal with that situation, but I don’t want to go into how we would do it more precisely,” Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
Last week, both Sweden and Finland joined NATO members at a meeting to discuss the ongoing conflict between Ukraine and Russia, with Secretary-General Stoltenberg stating at a press conference that the alliance demanded Russia end its military operations.
“President Putin must stop the war. Immediately. Withdraw his forces. Now. And engage in diplomacy. In good faith,” Stoltenberg said.
Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson has stated that she will not be pursuing a possible application for her country to join NATO, arguing that an application could further destabilize Europe https://t.co/2PKbfuRmYO
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) March 11, 2022
Sweden has been hesitant to discuss applying for NATO membership, with Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson stating earlier this month that Sweden entering the alliance could further destabilize Europe.
“If Sweden were to choose to send in an application to join NATO in the current situation, it would further destabilize this area of Europe and increase tensions,” Andersson said.
“I have been clear during this whole time in saying that what is best for Sweden’s security and for the security of this region of Europe is that the government has a long-term, consistent and predictable policy and that is my continued belief,” she added.
In neighbouring Finland, meanwhile, opinions among the general public on NATO membership have dramatically shifted, with a recent poll showing a majority of Finns would support joining the alliance, up from just 19 per cent in 2017.
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