Niinistö meets with Swedish, Norwegian PMs

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö meets on Wednesday with Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson and Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Störe.

The foreign and defence ministers of all three countries, including Pekka Haavisto (Green) and Mikko Savola (Cen) from Finland, will also participate in the mini-summit.

The three-way Nordic conference will take place at the Swedish prime minister’s summer residence in Harpsund, about 120 km west of Stockholm.

In addition to mutual cooperation between the countries, the leaders are to discuss current security issues and support for Ukraine. According to Niinistö’s office, the meeting is a continuation of the intensified contact between Finland, Sweden and Norway that he launched at his summer home, Kultaranta, in 2019.

In recent weeks, there has been new speculation about the timetable for Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to Nato, and the possibility that Finland might join the alliance before Sweden. This could happen if Turkey ratifies Finland’s membership first, as officials have suggested.

Last weekend, though, Turkish and Swedish sources suggested that Ankara might be ready to restart the suspended tripartite negotiations with Sweden and Finland, raising hopes that simultaneous accession could still be possible.

Turkey and Hungary are the only Nato members yet to rubberstamp the two countries’ membership bids. Norway and the other Nordic states became charter members of Nato in 1949.

Hungarian decision in March?

According to Hungarian sources, the Hungarian Parliament is to start the ratification process next week. The matter could be voted on the following week at the earliest, reports Swedish public broadcaster SVT, among others. Hungarian officials had previously said the matter would be concluded in February.

Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has reiterated that he is working to bring Finland and Sweden into the alliance by its summit in Vilnius, Lithuania in mid-July. According to Niinistö, any delay beyond that would put Nato’s entire accession procedure into doubt.

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