Thursday

29th Feb 2024

Sweden accession deal is 'message' to Putin, Nato says

  • Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg (Photo: nato.int)
Listen to article

Russia cannot block Nato from taking in new members, the alliance has said, amid preparations for Sweden and, one day, Ukraine to join.

"This sends a very clear message to Russia, to [Russian] president [Vladimir] Putin, that Nato's door remains open, and that it is for Nato allies to decide on enlargement. Moscow, Putin doesn't have a veto on Nato enlargement," Nato secretary general Jens Stoltenberg said at a summit in Vilnius on Tuesday (11 July).

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Get the EU news that really matters

Instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"I felt a kind of historic moment in the room," he said, recalling the warm welcome given to Sweden's prime minister in Lithuania.

Stoltenberg spoke after brokering a deal on Monday between Sweden and Turkey clearing the way for Swedish Nato accession.

"We look forward to welcoming Sweden as a full member of the alliance, based on the agreement I reached last night," he said.

Finland already joined Nato in April in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine, even though one of Russia's stated reasons for its war was to stop Nato expansion.

And Ukraine is also being put on the path to membership after the war ends, with Nato allies agreeing to fast-track its accession procedure and launch a new diplomatic format, the Nato-Ukraine Council, to speed up talks.

Nato will "extend an invitation to Ukraine to join the alliance when allies agree and conditions are met", the summit conclusions said.

"Allies agreed that when there's a war going on, it's not the time for making Ukraine a full member of the alliance," Stoltenberg said.

Turkey and Hungary were the only Nato allies who haven't yet ratified Swedish accession.

But Turkey has now pledged to do so "as soon as possible" and Hungary has pledged to do the same.

Turkey previously ratified Finnish membership in a two-week procedure. Hungary can call a snap vote with 48 hours' notice.

The deal came in return for deeper Swedish and Nato cooperation with Turkey on counter-terrorism.

It also includes a US decision to sell F-16 fighter jets to Turkey and speeding up plans for an EU-Turkey free-trade and visa-free travel deal, according to diplomats.

"Sweden will actively support efforts to rein Türkiye's EU accession process, including modernisation of the EU-Türkiye customs union and visa liberalisation," Stoltenberg said.

For his part, Ukrainian president Volodomyr Zelensky, who also travelled to Vilnius, said on Tuesday it was "absurd" Kyiv wasn't given a clear timetable by Nato for when it might join.

"It seems there is no readiness, neither to invite Ukraine to Nato nor to make it a member of the alliance," he said.

But France and Germany sweetened the pill by pledging to deliver long-range cruise missiles and 65 more battle tanks and armoured vehicles to Kyiv.

"I have taken the decision to increase the delivery of arms and equipment to enable deep strikes by Ukraine whilst maintaining the clarity and coherence of our doctrine, that is to say to allow Ukraine to defend its own territory," french president Emmanuel Macron said, announcing the move.

British prime minister Rishi Sunak added: "We're with Ukraine for as long as it takes ... what Putin needs to understand is there's no point in waiting out the West."

"It is without doubt an alliance summit with a strong anti-Russian character. Russia is seen as an enemy, an adversary," Putin's spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said of the Vilnius event.

"This carries a lot of risks and the people who will make this decision should admit that," he added, on Nato's plan to speed up Ukraine's accession process.

Admitting Ukraine to Nato would be "potentially very dangerous for European security", he said.

Opinion

For Ukraine's sake, pass the EU due diligence directive

The EU Commission's 2022 CSDDD proposal did not include provisions incorporating "conflict due diligence", they were added, after the Russian invasion, by the European Parliament and Council into the final directive text — for Ukraine's sake, vote for it.

Latest News

  1. Podcast: Hyperlocal meets supranational
  2. Von der Leyen appeals for 'new EU defence mindset'
  3. EU supply chain law fails, with 14 states failing to back it
  4. Joined-up EU defence procurement on the horizon?
  5. Macron on Western boots in Ukraine: What he really meant
  6. Amazon lobbyists banned from EU Parliament
  7. MEPs adopt new transparency rules for political ads
  8. EU nature restoration law approved after massive backlash

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersJoin the Nordic Food Systems Takeover at COP28
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersHow women and men are affected differently by climate policy
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersArtist Jessie Kleemann at Nordic pavilion during UN climate summit COP28
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP28: Gathering Nordic and global experts to put food and health on the agenda
  5. Friedrich Naumann FoundationPoems of Liberty – Call for Submission “Human Rights in Inhume War”: 250€ honorary fee for selected poems
  6. World BankWorld Bank report: How to create a future where the rewards of technology benefit all levels of society?

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsThis autumn Europalia arts festival is all about GEORGIA!
  2. UNOPSFostering health system resilience in fragile and conflict-affected countries
  3. European Citizen's InitiativeThe European Commission launches the ‘ImagineEU’ competition for secondary school students in the EU.
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region is stepping up its efforts to reduce food waste
  5. UNOPSUNOPS begins works under EU-funded project to repair schools in Ukraine
  6. Georgia Ministry of Foreign AffairsGeorgia effectively prevents sanctions evasion against Russia – confirm EU, UK, USA

Join EUobserver

EU news that matters

Join us