Finland and Sweden hold wide ranging talks, Ukraine, NATO and China

In early July, the two Nordic countries completed accession talks at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson have discussed bilateral relations between Finland and Sweden, the countries’ future NATO membership, support for Ukraine as it defends itself against Russia’s invasion, and other topical EU matters.

 Concrete areas where cooperation should be strengthened include developing security of supply and countering hybrid threats.

The prime ministers reiterated that it is in the interests of Finland and Sweden, and of NATO too, that both countries’ membership processes proceed at the same pace.

“Finland and Sweden are closer today than ever before in practically all areas. Our common path to NATO is a historic example of our close relations,” Marin said.

In their discussions, the prime ministers stressed the importance of the international community’s continued strong support for Ukraine. Ukraine is defending itself against Russia’s war of aggression in line with the principles of the UN Charter. Russia’s disinformation and attempts to further escalate the war are irresponsible and very worrying.

The prime ministers exchanged views on major power relations and China’s role as a follow-up to the discussions held at the European Council last week. They also highlighted the importance of new technologies and the strengths of the Finnish and Swedish business sectors in the field of network technologies. In addition, the prime ministers discussed Sweden’s upcoming Presidency of the Council of the European Union.

This was Prime Minister Kristersson’s first bilateral visit abroad as Prime Minister. Prime Minister Marin’s first visit abroad was also to Sweden. While in Helsinki, Prime Minister Kristersson also met with President of the Republic Sauli Niinistö.

NATO

The two Nordic countries applied for membership into the military bloc in early July amid the Russia-Ukraine conflict. In order to be accepted, their accession documents must be ratified by all 30 NATO members.

Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids were initially blocked by Turkey, which accused them of supporting anti-Turkey groups as they rejected Ankara’s extradition requests for suspects affiliated with the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and the Gulen Movement.

In early July, the two Nordic countries completed accession talks at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels and the 30 allies signed their accession protocols, which then go to all NATO countries for ratification, according to their national procedures.

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