Nato membership applications are “historic step”

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has hailed Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for Nato membership as a “historic step for the defence alliance and for Europe”.

Nato-Mitgliedsanträge „historischer Schritt“
picture alliance/dpa

Berlin (dpa) - German Chancellor Olaf Scholz has hailed Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for Nato membership as a “historic step for the defence alliance and for Europe”. Scholz said on Tuesday that this was the response of both countries to the Russian aggression against Ukraine and the resulting “dramatic change” in the security situation in Europe.

Scholz said that Finland and Sweden were exercising their right of free choice of alliance. “Germany will work to ensure that the accession procedure makes very swift progress.” On the question of possible security guarantees for Finland and Sweden vis-à-vis Russia during the accession process, Scholz said both countries could always rely on Germany’s assistance, “especially in this very special situation”.

The ratification process will take place once Nato’s internal process for the admission of the two Nordic countries has been completed. In Germany, ratification requires the approval of the Bundestag.

Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock had said at the weekend that the German government had already spoken to all democratic parties in parliament about this. “I am very confident that Finland and Sweden’s accession will happen quickly because everyone is very aware that this is a decisive moment. This is a historic moment, but in a highly dramatic situation,” the Green politician said on Tuesday.