Finnish NATO decision made: Baerbock makes promises

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Will: Christina Denk, Felix Durach

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Finland and Sweden want to join NATO in the face of the war in Ukraine. Foreign Minister Baerbock spoke out in favor of rapid admission. News ticker.

  • Escalation of conflict in Ukraine: Finland and Sweden want to join NATO in the face of the Russian threat.
  • Baerbock for fast NATO registration Finland and Sweden: the Minister for Foreign Affairs has come out in favor of “very, very rapid” ratification of possible applications for membership.
  • final vote am Sonntag: Finland wants to submit NATO candidacy next week
  • warnings the Turkey: Erdogan criticizes membership due to his own security concerns.
  • This News ticker on expected NATO membership of Finland and Sweden is continuously updated.

Update May 15, 12:17 p.m.: Finland wants to join NATO. The Scandinavian country will apply to join the military alliance, as announced by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Sunday in Helsinki. However, the Finnish parliament has yet to approve the project. A majority is considered safe. Niinistö repeatedly referred to Sunday as a “historic day” for the country. “A new era is beginning,” the president said.

Finland, which has not been part of any alliance for decades, shares a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia. Following Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine, more and more voices are being raised asking Finland to join NATO in order to ensure the country’s security. Niinistö and Marin recently campaigned to join the military alliance. On Saturday, Marin’s SDP party also came out in favor of the membership application. Nothing stands in the way of a majority in Parliament.

Russian President Vladimir Putin assured his counterpart Niinistö in a phone call on Saturday that Russia posed no threat and called possible NATO membership a mistake. An application for membership by Finland could now only be prevented by the veto of a member state. However, NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana on Sunday reiterated NATO’s “open door policy” and expressed confidence.

Finland wants to submit an application to join NATO and join the military alliance.  This was announced by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Sunday.
Finland wants to submit an application to join NATO and join the military alliance. This was announced by President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Sunday. © Heikki Saukkomaa/afp

‘Ukraine can win this war’: NATO representative assures additional Western aid

Update May 15, 10:25 a.m.: NATO Assistant Secretary General Mircea Geoana has pledged Western support for Ukraine in the ongoing war against Russia. “Thanks to the courage of the Ukrainian army and our help, Ukraine can win this war,” Geoana said on the sidelines of informal consultations between NATO foreign ministers on Sunday morning in Berlin. The Russian offensive in Ukraine is already “losing momentum”.

The Romanian also commented positively on the possible NATO membership of Finland and Sweden. Geoana was “confident that the allies” would consider “constructively and positively” possible membership applications from the two “vibrant democracies”. Any concerns from Turkey were discussed “amicably”. According to the Deputy Secretary General, the “open door policy” defended by NATO is “sacrosanct”.

NATO Deputy Secretary General Mircea Geoana arrives at the NATO Foreign Ministers meeting in Berlin.
NATO Assistant Secretary General Mircea Geoana believes that Ukraine could win the war against Russia with Western support. ©John MACDOUGALL/AFP

Geoana represents Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, who has to self-isolate due to corona infection, during the informal consultations of NATO Foreign Ministers in Berlin. Deliberations began on Saturday evening and will end with a press conference in the afternoon.

Baerbock for the rapid NATO membership of Finland and Sweden – “pushed” by Putin

Update for May 15, 9:30 a.m.: German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has promised Finland and Sweden rapid entry into NATO. Germany would ratify “very, very quickly” the entry of the two countries into the alliance, Baerbock said on Sunday morning on the sidelines of informal consultations with his NATO colleagues in Berlin. The federal government has already had talks with “all democratic parties”. According to Baerbock, other NATO countries have also come out in favor of a speedy ratification process. According to the politician of the Greens, it is necessary at all costs to avoid a “hang-up” after the candidacy of the two Scandinavian countries for membership.

“NATO is a defense-based alliance and always will be,” Baerbock said. “But it’s also an open-door alliance and that’s why we welcome Finland and Sweden, if their parliaments, if their societies so decide,” added the Minister of Foreign Affairs with a view to possible membership. Regarding Russian President Vladimir Putin, Baerbock notes that he “pushed” Finland and Sweden into NATO with his war of aggression against Ukraine.

In a phone call with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Putin called the decision a “mistake”.

Annalena Baerbock (Bündnis 90/Die Grünen), Foreign Minister of Germany, speaks during the closing press conference of the Summit of Foreign Ministers of the G7 group of major democratic economic powers.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) has given Finland and Sweden the prospect of rapid entry into NATO. © Marcus Brandt/dpa

Turkey against Finland and Sweden joining NATO? Foreign Minister open to discussion

Update of May 14, 8:42 p.m.: Before the meeting of NATO foreign ministers, Turkey once again reiterated its reluctance to accept Finland and Sweden. The two countries have “openly” supported the “terrorist organizations” of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the YPG, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said. The majority of the Turkish population is against NATO membership of countries that “support these terrorist organizations”.

At the same time, Cavusoglu was open to discussing NATO membership efforts with representatives from Helsinki and Stockholm.

Luxembourg Foreign Minister Jean Asselborn called on Turkey to drop its opposition to the possible admission of Sweden and Finland. “If both countries want this, and it seems to be going in that direction, then none of the 30 countries should oppose it,” Asselborn said on Saturday. At the same time, Asselborn was convinced that Ankara’s reservations could be overcome.

Finland’s NATO membership draws closer: Government majority approves bid

First report of March 14, 7:22 p.m.: Helsinki – Finland’s possible NATO membership in preparation for the war in Ukraine is getting closer. On Saturday May 14, the ruling Social Democrats voted in favor of membership by a large majority. According to the party, 53 of the 60 members of the party leadership voted in favor of NATO membership on Saturday. Only five members voted against and two abstained.

The government’s formal decision must be taken on Sunday, which must then be approved by parliament. Nothing would stand in the way of the official NATO candidacy next week.

Ideally, Finland’s NATO application should be submitted “together with Sweden”, Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters on Saturday. “They have their own procedure, but of course I hope that we will take the decisions at the same time and submit our applications together,” said the head of government. Sweden also wants to decide on Sunday on an application for NATO membership.

Finland’s plans for NATO: Headwind from Turkey – Erdogan voices his own security concerns

The Finnish NATO decision is not only criticized by Russia. Negative statements also came from Turkey. “We are currently following the developments regarding Sweden and Finland, but we do not have a positive opinion about them”, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday, May 13. Erdogan adviser Ibrahim Kalin explained the statements in more detail on Saturday. Turkey is not definitely opposed to membership, it has its own security concerns. Erdogan sees Scandinavian countries as “guesthouses for terrorist organizations” like the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK. In the past, he has accused them of failing to take decisive action against the PKK or the Gülen movement.

In theory, Turkey could prevent Finland and Sweden from joining NATO, since decisions within NATO are based on the principle of consensus. Finland is confident that it can assuage Turkish reservations about its proposed NATO membership. “I am sure that we will find a solution to this matter,” Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Saturday on the sidelines of consultations with NATO foreign ministers in Berlin. However, he cannot promise that everything can be solved overnight.

During the debate, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg stressed the close ties between the military alliance and the two Nordic countries. Ahead of the NATO Foreign Ministers’ meeting in Berlin, Stoltenberg tweeted that he had spoken with Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto and Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde about “new developments regarding a possible application for membership”. The NATO Secretary General also held talks with Turkey.

Finland’s NATO bid: Russia calls neighboring country’s plans a ‘mistake’

Russia, which shares a nearly 1,340 kilometer border with Finland, also reacted critically. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would “certainly” view Finland’s NATO membership as a threat. After a phone call with Finnish President Niinistö, the Kremlin said Vladimir Putin had “emphasized to Niinistö that ending the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security.” . Due to its plan to join NATO, Russia stopped supplying electricity to Finland on Saturday. All further developments on the negotiations in the Ukrainian war can be found in the negotiation ticker. (chd/dpa)

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