BRUSSELS, 30 Apr. (EUROPE PRESS) –
The entry of Sweden and Finland into NATO could be completed before the end of the year or the beginning of 2023, after a negotiation process of just a few days given the proximity of the two Scandinavian countries to the Atlantic Alliance, a spokesman for NATO consulted by Europa Press.
The Russian invasion of Ukraine has led to a new security urgency for Stockholm and Helsinki, which would welcome joining a military organization. For this, it maintains a process of parliamentary consultations and it is expected that in mid-May they will issue a final decision on joining the military alliance.
Sweden and Finland are not part but they are the two closest partners and are already involved in missions and operations. That means that the formal negotiations to enter the alliance can be resolved “in a couple of days,” the allied spokesman said.
The most difficult step is the one that has to do with ratification due to the different procedures that exist in each member of NATO. This bureaucratic procedure will take months and is what means that the formal entry would not arrive until the end of 2022 or the beginning of 2023, something that worries Sweden and Finland, who want to have security guarantees for this interregnum, after Moscow has threatened with retaliation if they join NATO.
TWO WEEKS OF PROCESS FROM THE FORMAL APPLICATION
Once they have finished the parliamentary process, the candidates must send a ‘letter of intent’ to the organization, which is equivalent to a request for access, with which the formal process to enter begins.
NATO would convene its executive body, the Atlantic Council, to study the request from Sweden and Finland and on that same day it could give the green light to open entry negotiations, in view of the existing consensus.
These accession talks, which normally take time and require defense reforms to align with NATO standards, would be very short, just a couple of days.
Then would come the signing of the access protocol, which the allies sign in Brussels to later go to the capitals, where the longest process begins for the 30 allies to ratify the entry of the new members.
“The entire process from the letter of intent to having the access protocol signed would be done in two weeks, which is very fast,” said the Atlantic spokesman.
RATIFICATION TAKES MONTHS
Despite the speed of the talks and the fact that all the procedures are going to be streamlined, the phase that may delay the entry of the two Nordic countries into NATO the most has to do with the ratification of the access protocol, which “could take many months “.
The problem is that each ally has a different system, in many the approval of the Congress or Senate is needed. In the United States, for example, it requires the support of two thirds of the Senate, in others a simple majority and in the United Kingdom it only needs the approval of the Government.
In the case of North Macedonia, the last country to join NATO, with some pressure due to the change of the country’s name, the protocol took nine months to be ratified by the rest of the allies, recalls the allied spokesman to give a sample of the deadlines that can be expected now.
In 1982, Spain became the sixteenth member of NATO after a process that took a total of six months since it announced its formal intention to join the organization in December 1981.
Once all alliance members and candidates have approved these protocols, the ritual leads to Washington, where the documents are deposited with the US government. It is not until they are all that the aspiring country becomes a member of NATO.