The NATO countries cannot yet get started with the membership application of Sweden and Finland, insiders say. Turkey also persisted in the first meeting of the 30 member states in its opposition to the accession of the two northern European countries.
On Wednesday morning, Finland and Sweden solemnly handed over their official membership application to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at NATO headquarters in Brussels. He stated that “we are determined to deal with all issues and reach a swift conclusion”.
Speed is needed because the two countries cannot count on the automatic protection of the Western military alliance as long as they are in the waiting room. That makes them vulnerable to the wrath of Russia.
The Dutch NATO ambassador and her 29 colleagues have not yet reached an agreement on Wednesday about starting the follow-up process of the accession procedure, alliance sources say. However, no NATO country would have objected to welcoming the two aspiring members other than Turkey.
According to the German NATO ambassador, the often somewhat Russian-minded Hungary agreement would also be. Some Member States do wonder whether the tight planning is not asking too much of their parliaments, which must also approve the accession.
Intensive consultations are taking place between Ankara, Stockholm and Helsinki to remove Turkey’s resistance. This includes the United States, the main pillar of NATO.