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NATO Summit Unlikely to Break Expansion Stalemate by Sven R. Larson

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NATO Summit Unlikely to Break Expansion Stalemate

Aspiring NATO members Finland and Sweden have government representatives at the NATO summit in Madrid, in an effort to try to bring their membership applications forward. Reports Finnish Hufvudstadsbladet:

On Monday morning the [Finnish] president’s office announced on Twitter that President Niinistö will meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The accession applications from both Finland and Sweden have been stalled by Turkey. The president’s office also announced that Niinistö will meet Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

According to Swedish newspaper Dagens Nyheter, Secretary General Stoltenberg will lead a meeting with the Swedish prime minister and the Finnish and Turkish presidents. The newspaper quotes Stoltenberg:

We have intensified the dialogue with Finland, Sweden and Turkey the last few weeks. I am pleased that they have accepted my invitation to meet in Madrid. The purpose is to move forward with the negotiations, but it is too early to tell how far we can go.

One indication as to which way the negotiations are moving, says Dagens Nyheter, relies on whether or not the Swedish and Finnish representatives will be allowed to participate in the NATO proceedings without the right to vote, or be forced to wait outside. 

In the former case, the paper suggests, the talks with Turkey are making progress; in the latter case, they are not.
A report from Reuters suggests that the “NATO summit this week is unlikely to see a breakthrough” in terms of NATO’s Nordic expansion. The Turkish government is in no rush to move the Swedish and Finnish accession applications forward. Ankara can “press on for months if needed” in order to win concessions from the aspiring member states. Turkey wants the two countries to end their weapons export embargoes, and to take tangible measures against organizations that (according to the Turkish government), are terrorist groups.

Sven R. Larson is a political economist and author. He received a Ph.D. in Economics from Roskilde University, Denmark. Originally from Sweden, he lives in America where for the past 16 years he has worked in politics and public policy. He has written several books, including Democracy or Socialism: The Fateful Question for America in 2024.

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