Sweden: all set to join Nato?
Turkish President Erdoğan had blocked Sweden’s Nato accession for months, but now he has signed the corresponding protocol and submitted it to the Turkish parliament for ratification. Nato Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wants Sweden to officially join the defence alliance at the meeting of Nato foreign ministers taking place at the end of November. Commentators discuss the background and still see obstacles ahead.
Not yet done and dusted
Dagens Nyheter sees problems ahead, both in the Nato accession process and for the functioning of Nato itself:
“Until the papers are ratified and sent to the Nato chief, it makes no difference what Erdoğan does with them. ... In the event [that Trump is elected US president] there is a danger that European security will be shaken to the core. Support for Ukraine is stagnating. ... We know from his last presidency that Trump does not regard Nato as sacred. That we will one day join the defence pact is beyond doubt. ... Hopefully our membership will be finalised in November, or at the latest before the end of the year.”
Nothing more to gain for Erdoğan
Turkey has nothing to gain from continuing to block Sweden’s path, says Turun Sanomat:
“Erdoğan’s announcement came at an unexpected moment. There are several possible reasons why the process is now moving forward. The purchase of fighter jets from the US may have reached the point where Turkey wants to remove all remaining obstacles. There are also suspicions that Turkey wants to mediate in the Gaza war, and Erdoğan is now showing the West that he is a reliable partner. ... The simple explanation is that you can’t keep squeezing for concessions indefinitely. Turkey has already extracted everything it could from the Swedish Nato process and there is no point in blocking it any longer.”
Article 5 not a magic bullet
There must be bilateral agreements in addition to Nato security guarantees, says Helsingin Sanomat:
“While the security guarantees of Nato Article 5 must no be underestimated, other security solutions must also be found. Bilateral relations with the United States are gaining importance. In the coming days, Sweden will conclude negotiations on a bilateral defence cooperation agreement with the United States. Finland is also in the final stages of negotiations to agree on rules for a US military presence in the Nordic countries. The northern European countries have different security interests than the other Nato countries.”
Awkward for Hungary
The Fidesz majority in the Hungarian parliament on Tuesday rejected an opposition motion to put Sweden’s Nato accession on the agenda. Hungary is bringing up the rear, Hvg fears:
“After President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan unexpectedly initiated the vote on the issue in the parliament in Ankara on Monday, it is possible that Hungary will now be the last Nato member state to give the Swedes the green light. ... Hungary will certainly have an awkward time explaining this. Before this latest development, sources close to the government had told hvg that Orbán was in no hurry to make a decision because it would improve neither the country’s standing within Nato nor its relations with the US.”