Finland y Sweden have formally applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (OTAN). The members of the military alliance – with the exception of Turkey – welcome its entry.

“we haven’t had any [señal de] the OTAN that there would be some problem for Finland or Sweden to be members . We are already very interlinked and close NATO partners”, declared Sanna Marin, the first Finnish minister.

And I add:

“There are still some questions, but I think it is very important that we have these discussions with the countries in a very calm way and discuss all the problems that may arise.”

Today, Monday, the parliaments of Sweden and Finland they will discuss the details and vote, most likely, to confirm joining the alliance.

Alliance Requirements

For a country to join the OTAN has to, first“confirm your interest”. For example, in recent weeks the prime ministers of Finland and Sweden have been heard to make clear their desire to join the organization as soon as possible.

The second step is that their parliaments vote in favour, as is very likely to happen today Helsinki y Stockholm.

But that the countries want to join the OTAN it’s not enough.

According to the tenth article of the treaty that gave life to the alliance, the member countries can invite “any state European” as long as it can contribute to the objective of the alliance, which is to ensure the security of the North Atlantic.

The Spanish newspaper “El País” recalls that, since it was founded in 1949, the Organization has “incorporated 18 countries in eight rounds of enlargement, all towards the east of Europe except for the addition of spain in 1982″.

The newspaper adds that the “courtesy” towards Finland and Sweden could happen in June, when the NATO summit takes place in Madrid.

The fourth step is the negotiation to determine the real capacities of the candidate countries, “from defense capacity to legal matters. And, if they need reforms, they must present a calendar on their fulfillment”.

The ideal candidate will live in democracy with a market economy and show “respect for minorities”. Similarly, it is expected to increase its defense budget to 2% of GDP, in response to a 2014 compromise between the allies.

The fifth step consists in that the 30 allies unanimously approve the inclusion of the candidate country in the alliance.

Finally, the sixth step consists of writing the Protocol of Accession to the Washington Treatywhich must be signed and ratified by the 30 members, to then notify the United States, “depositary of the Treaty”.

With this, the Secretary General of NATO – currently the Norwegian Jens Stoltenberg-, makes the invitation official and the nations that join ratify it according to their laws.

Most Recent Cases

The last two countries to join NATO were Montenegro y North Macedonia. Here we review how they did it.

Montenegro (2017)

It is a small country and whose military contribution to NATO is minuscule. Its importance goes through its location. “El Confidencial” recalls that it was the last country missing to control the Adriatic Sea -why Albania, Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy They were already members.

Europa Press tells that, after becoming independent from Serbia in 2006, Montenegro was “invited to join NATO accession action plan in 2009″.

But it wasn’t until December 2015 that the allies -28, at that time- invited him. The process lasted two years because, as Stoltenberg explained, he had to “be approved by all the parliaments of the member countries”.

So it was: in 2017, Montenegro joined NATO.

North Macedonia (2020)

To join the alliance, the nation had to change its name.

CNN reports that, after becoming independent from Yugoslavia in 1991, the Republic of Macedonia was born, which caused a problem with Greecea NATO member state that hosts a region called Macedonia. It was a necessary measure to bypass the greek veto.

Thus, the March 27, 2020, the country I enter to NATO officially after the allied countries signed their accession in February 2019.

“North Macedonia is now part of the NATO family, a family of thirty nations and nearly a billion people. A family founded on the certainty that, regardless of the challenge we face, we are all stronger and safer together”, Stoltenberg said then.

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