BRUSSELS, January 13. /TASS/. The accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO can go very quickly if these countries decide to apply, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at the press conference in Brussels on Thursday.
"Finland and Sweden are very close partners. They are enhanced opportunity partners. We have worked together with them, we have exercised together with them, we have trained together with them. They meet NATO standards in most areas. They have very well organized and well governed defence and security institutions. So in many ways, of course, they are very close to NATO in all aspects. So in that sense, this can go very quickly if they decide to apply. But at the end of the day, this will be a political decision that has to be taken in Sweden and in Finland if they want to apply. And I think that it is a political decision among the 30 Allies," he said.
Finland and Sweden are EU member states, but they maintain a militarily neutral status and have not joined NATO. In addition, they are the closest partners of the North Atlantic Alliance, their armed forces meet NATO standards as well as their control protocols and communications.