Baltic states will benefit most from Sweden and Finland's accession to NATO - expert

  • 2022-06-29
  • LETA/TBT Staff

RIGA - The main beneficiaries of the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO will be the Baltic States, as the security of the Baltic Sea region will be strengthened, Zaneta Ozolina, Chairwoman of the Board of the Latvian Transatlantic Organization, told LETA.

She pointed out that the so-called eastern flank and the Baltic Sea region as a whole will also benefit.

As for Sweden and Finland, with their defense policies and military capabilities, they both have long been ready to become members of NATO, but membership will provide both countries with the collective protection provided for in Article 5 of the organization's treaty in the event of an attack.

The organization itself also benefits from the accession of both countries to NATO, as NATO has shown solidarity in terms of values since 2014 and especially since the Russian invasion of Ukraine. By taking in Finland and Sweden, NATO gains two countries where democratic values are maintained at a high level, the expert said.

"Of course, the issue of ratification is ahead, but it is hard to imagine that something could go wrong," Ozolina added.

The AFP news agency reports that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Tuesday lifted his opposition to Sweden and Finland joining NATO following crunch talks with the leaders of the two Nordic countries in Madrid.

Erdogan had stubbornly refused to green light the applications from the Nordic pair -- lodged in response to Russia's war on Ukraine -- despite calls from his NATO allies to clear the path for them to enter.

Turkey could essentially veto Finland and Sweden from joining NATO since all members must agree to taking on new members.

But late on Tuesday, Erdogan's office said it had agreed to back their drives to join, saying Ankara had "got what it wanted".

"Turkey has made significant gains in the fight against terrorist organizations," the office said ahead of a NATO summit in Madrid.

Ankara had accused Finland and especially Sweden of offering a safe haven to Kurdish militants who have been waging decades-long insurgency against the Turkish state.

The two Nordic countries also agreed to lift their embargoes on weapons deliveries to Turkey, which were imposed in response to Ankara's 2019 military incursion into Syria.

Turkey signed a memorandum with Finland and Sweden on Tuesday supporting the invitation for the Nordic countries to become members of NATO, the Finnish presidency said.