US Ambassador to Helsinki Douglas Hickey believes that Finland and Sweden may be accepted into NATO by the end of this year.
It is noted that only three of the 30 NATO countries have yet to ratify the accession of Finland and Sweden to the alliance: Slovakia, Hungary and Turkey. At the same time, according to the newspaper, the general assumption is that Hungary and Turkey will wait until 2023 to make a final decision.
Douglas Hickey has said he is optimistic that NATO will have 32 members by the end of this year. Conversations he had with his Hungarian counterpart in Helsinki led him to believe that a positive vote would soon follow, he said, warning that the situation could change. But Hickey believes that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan does not want to be left alone, prompting him to move quickly on the issue.
On May 18, Finland and Sweden, against the background of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, submitted applications to the NATO Secretary General to join the alliance. At first, Ankara blocked the start of the process of considering these applications, but on June 29, Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a security memorandum that takes into account all of Ankara’s concerns. Turkey, in turn, withdrew its objections to the entry of these two European countries into NATO.