First 2 Countries Ratify Finland, Sweden NATO Bids

Canada, Denmark legislatures approved historic move
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 6, 2022 6:35 PM CDT
Canada Is First to Ratify Finland, Sweden NATO Bids
Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives at the NATO Heads of State summit in Madrid, Thursday, June 30, 2022.   (Bertrand Guay, Pool via AP)

All 30 NATO members have formally signed off on Sweden and Finland's historic bid to join the alliance, and the next step is expected to be a time-consuming one—but not in Canada. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country has become the first to ratify accession protocols for the two Nordic countries, a step that will also have to be taken by legislatures in the other 29 member states, Politico reports. "Canada took steps to be able to ratify the Protocols as quickly as possible," Trudeau said in a statement. "In addition, the House of Commons voted unanimously in favor of Finland and Sweden joining the Alliance."

As a founding NATO member, Canada supports the open-door policy "for any European country in a position to advance the commitments and obligations of membership, such as protecting democracy," Trudeau said. When representatives of the 30 allies approved the protocols Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg described it as "truly a historic moment for Finland, for Sweden and for NATO."

Denmark says it has also handed over ratification documents. Germany's legislature is expected to approve the accession of Finland and Sweden on Tuesday, but even though Russia's war on Ukraine has added urgency to the process, parliaments in other countries are unlikely to grant approval until after their summer breaks, the AP reports. Accession became possible after Turkey dropped its objection, though Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan says the country could still block the process if Finland and Sweden decline to extradite people it considers terrorists. (More NATO stories.)

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