There is “no change” in Finland and Sweden’s desire to join NATO “simultaneously,” Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin told CNN on Saturday.
“We’ve sent a very clear message: we want to join together with Sweden. At the same time, it’s not only because we are good neighbors and good partners. It’s also to do with very concrete matters,” Marin told CNN’s Chief International Anchor Christiane Amanpour while participating at a panel at the Munich Security Conference.
“The security planning of NATO in the whole north, it’s in the interest of us, but it’s also in the interest of NATO that Finland and Sweden will join simultaneously,”
“And we have sent very clear signal and a very clear message to Turkey and also Hungary, that hasn’t ratified yet, that we want to enter NATO together, and this is in the interest of everyone,” she added.
The Finnish PM was pressed to clarify whether there had been a change in Helsinki’s approach in light of NATO member Turkey’s current opposition to Sweden joining the defense alliance.
“No change. Of course we cannot influence and affect how some countries would ratify, it’s their decision. But our message is that we are willing to join and we prefer and want to join together,” she said.
On Tuesday, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg suggested Finland and Sweden could join separately.
“So the main question is not whether Finland and Sweden are ratified together. The main question is that they are both ratified as full members as soon as possible,” he said.
Some context: Sweden and Finland are relying on Turkey to support its bid for membership of NATO, in the light of Russia’s war on Ukraine.
Tensions between Sweden and Turkey have grown recently however, with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu reportedly accusing the Swedish government of being complicit in the burning of the Quran at a protest in Stockholm last month.
Turkey has previously said Sweden must take a clearer stance against what it sees as terrorists, mainly Kurdish militants and a group it blames for a 2016 coup attempt, before Ankara approves its bid to join NATO.