Canada is the first of the bloc’s 30 members to formally approve membership for Sweden and Finland
Canadian lawmakers have voted to ratify NATO membership for Sweden and Finland, after the US-led military bloc met in Brussels to sign accession protocols for the two Nordic countries.
“Today, Canada became the first country to ratify the accession protocols of Finland and Sweden to join NATO. This brings the two countries one step closer to full membership,” the prime minister said, adding that Ottawa has “full confidence” that both nations will “integrate. quickly and effectively in NATO and contribute to the Alliance’s collective defense. “
Trudeau’s comments come after NATO leaders met in Belgium earlier in the day to sign the protocols, which must be ratified by each Member State’s parliament. Although Canada pushed through ratification within hours, the process could take several months to complete as legislators from dozens of countries now have to reach an agreement on the issue.
By applying to join NATO earlier this year, Finland and Sweden broke with their long-standing traditions of neutrality, citing security concerns after Russia sent troops to Ukraine in February. While most members immediately welcomed them into the alliance, their bid was put on hold by Turkey, which accused both of harboring Kurdish militants and promoting “terrorism”.
Despite several warnings from Ankara, however, Turkey ended its objections last week after the two Nordic countries signed a 10-point agreement under which they promised to address the terrorist allegations and remove export controls on, among other things, Turkish goods. The agreement seems to have resolved the stalemate, although Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned that he could block the process again if his country’s demands are not met.