Nato’s secretary-general has acknowledged for the first time the possibility that Finland and Sweden could become members of the military alliance separately.
The Nordic neighbours, whose applications are being held up by Hungary and particularly Turkey, were in a better security position than they were before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine nearly a year ago, Jens Stoltenberg said.
“So the main question is not whether Finland and Sweden are ratified together,” he told reporters on Tuesday. “The main question is that they are both ratified as full members as soon as possible. And I’m confident that both will be full members, and are working hard to get both ratified as soon as possible.”
Previously the line from Nato, Helsinki and Stockholm is that the neighbours, who made their applications together, would join as a pair.
Turkey’s president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan has indicated he is willing to ratify Finland’s Nato membership but not Sweden’s, accusing Stockholm of harbouring Kurdish activists and allowing a Koran to be burnt in front of Turkey’s embassy there.