NATO will consider ways to ensure the security of Sweden and Finland before joining the bloc, including by strengthening its military presence in the region, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference following an informal meeting of the foreign ministers of the countries participating in the alliance.
He added that NATO will try to speed up the process of ratification of countries as much as possible. However, Stoltenberg stressed, there will be a certain period of time between the application and full membership.
“Obviously, the membership of Finland and Sweden matters to NATO. We will consider ways to ensure security guarantees, including by increasing NATO’s presence in the region, in the Baltic region, in Finland and Sweden and around them, of course, in close consultation and agreement between Finland and Sweden,” the head of NATO said.
On May 15, the Finnish government officially announced its decision to join the North Atlantic Alliance. The country will apply after consultations in parliament. The head of the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Pekka Haavisto, said that this would take place on May 18. Sweden may apply for NATO membership on May 16