France Ratifies Finland and Sweden's NATO Accession
The moves means that both potential NATO states only need ratifications from nine states, including Erdogan's Turkey.
With 20 countries having already signalled their support for Finland and Sweden to join NATO, France was one of the 10 countries that had yet to discuss it within their national parliament due to the focus on the cost of living crisis.
However, this Tuesday, the French parliament ratified it’s side of the accession protocol for the two countries, one week after the French senate supported the move.
As you can see below, there was an interesting split in the voting for this law:
Only half of the deputies took part in the vote, which was a percentage that was fairly stable across the parties. The majority of the votes in favour of this came from the Presidential majority, alongside Les Republicains, the PS and Ecologist wings of the NUPES coalition, the non-inscrits, and the Liberties and Territories group.
The only parties that actively voted against ratifying the accession protocol were the Left Democrats and Republicans, and the anti-NATO LFI leaders of the NUPES coalition.
French Minister for European and Foreign Affairs, Catherine Colonna, called it a “major and historic decision” by Finland and Sweden, for whom “neutrality was until now a cardinal principal.
To underline just why it was such an important decision to support the two soon-to-be NATO members, Colonna reminded the Assemblée national that this moment was due to the “upheaval of our geopolitical norms” by Russia’s reliance on “brute force” and “egregious violence”, and their commitment to “extortions, rapes, assassinations and deportations”
The French army minister, Sébastian Lecornu made a similar statement:
The Assemblee National , after the Senate , votes overwhelmingly in favor of Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
The accession of these two European partners will contribute to strengthening the deterrent posture of the Atlantic Alliance, as well as European security.
There are still potential roadblocks to the accession of the two states to NATO, however, with the most important being the need to have all 30 members of the organisation.
The issue now is that long-term Putin ally, Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has threatened again and again to freeze the progress on their accession to NATO, who initially claimed that they were protecting and hosting Kurdish terrorists within their countries.
While some headway was made in negotiations between the Finns, the Swedes, and the Turkish president, he is still doing his best to extract as many concessions as possible:
“We have adopted an extremely clear attitude for the continuation of NATO enlargement (…). I want to remind you once again that we will freeze the process if these countries do not take the necessary measures to fulfil our conditions…We particularly note that Sweden does not reflect well on this subject”
Whether he comes through with these threats is another question, as Turkey is still reliant on support from it’s NATO allies and would still like to maintain a positive relationship with the EU (outside of the election-period sabre rattling that is priced into the relationship.
But let’s try to stay hopeful, dear readers, and cross our fingers!
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Wait, the Republicans voted against NATO membership for Finland and Sweden? Why?