The 30 members of NATO on Tuesday signed off on the accession protocols that will allow Sweden and Finland to join the military alliance.
Are they NATO members now?
Not yet, there’s still the final stage before they’re formally announced members of the alliance. The signing of the accession protocols now sends the membership bids of the two countries to the member-nations capitals for legislative approvals. But while Denmark and Canada have been quick to hand in their ratification in Washington, it is still uncertain if Turkey will grant the required approval.
Didn’t Turkey already agree to this?
Yes, Turkey recently ended its opposition to the two applicants after reaching an agreement with both countries over previous thorny issues. But securing the parliament’s approval could still prove difficult as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that the parliament in Ankara could refuse to ratify the deal. NATO’s Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has, however, expressed optimism that there’d be no change of heart after the agreement reached with Turkey.
How soon is this likely to be concluded? It may take several more months for the two applicants to become full NATO members because every current member faces unique legislative challenges and processes. But currently, while they await ratification, Finland and Sweden are permitted to attend all meetings of the ambassadors as official invitees, even though they cannot yet vote.