Credit: Freepik

Czech Senate Approves Finland and Sweden’s NATO Accession By Large Majority

For Sweden and Finland to become NATO members, their accession documents must be ratified by all 30 NATO countries. Credit: Freepik.

Prague, Aug 10 (CTK) – As expected, the Czech Senate yesterday approved NATO accession for Finland and Sweden almost unanimously.

Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in early July in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

The consent of the Chamber of Deputies and President Milos Zeman’s signature are still needed to complete the Czech ratification of the NATO expansion. The Chamber of Deputies may meet to vote on it in late August.

The presidential spokesman told CTK that Zeman has supported the accession of the two countries since the beginning.

Minister for EU Affairs Mikulas Bek (STAN) told senators that the enlargement of NATO to include Finland and Sweden “is in the full interests of the Czech Republic.”

Senate foreign affairs committee chairman Pavel Fischer (Ind.) praised the defence capability of the two candidate states, saying that they will be a contribution to NATO.

Sweden’s accession to NATO was approved unanimously by all 66 Senators present. The Finnish accession was supported by 64 out of the 65 senators present, apart from Lumir Aschenbrenner (ODS), who abstained from the vote but subsequently said that he had done so by mistake and had actually planned to vote for the proposal.

Senator Petr Vicha (CSSD) said he supported both Sweden and Finland’s NATO entry, but in the latter case the voting device failed to register his vote.

Prime Minister Petr Fiala (ODS) thanked the senators on Twitter: “I expect a similarly smooth vote in the Chamber of Deputies. I firmly believe that the ratification process will be smooth in all NATO countries.”

For Sweden and Finland to become NATO members, their accession documents must be ratified by all 30 NATO countries, 23 of which have already done so, with President Joe Biden completing the U.S. ratification process on Tuesday.

Out of the NATO members, the ratification has progressed the most slowly in Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Greece, Hungary and Turkey.

Turkey has made its ratification conditional on some demands concerning the Kurdish members of groups which Ankara labels as terrorists. Ankara wants Sweden and Finland to extradite several dozens of members of Kurdish and opposition groups; the Turkish government claims that Sweden in particular has not tried hard enough in this respect.

Fischer said that Europe has been changing as a consequence of the Russian invasion of Ukraine in a way Vladimir Putin had not imagined.

Sweden has 23,000 troops in active service, whose number may rise up to 280,000 with mobilisation. Finland has up to 900,000 reservists, and ranks among Europe’s artillery powers. Sweden, for its part, has one of the strongest air forces, said Fischer.

The protocols are international agreements of presidential type. The two chambers of parliament give their consent to the ratification, which rests in the subsequent signature of the documents by the president.

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