Czech parliament approves entry of Sweden, Finland into NATO

The Czech Republic has been one of the slowest countries to approve the accession of Sweden and Finland into the EU.

Expats.cz Staff

Written by Expats.cz Staff Published on 27.08.2022 09:59:00 (updated on 27.08.2022) Reading time: 2 minutes

The Czech Chamber of Deputies, the lower half of the country's parliament, has voted in favor of the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO, Chamber members have announced this morning.

The Czech Senate, the upper half of parliament, had previously voted in favor of accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO; now, only President Miloš Zeman's signature is needed to make the Czech position official.

Zeman has supported efforts by Sweden and Finland to join NATO since they announced their intentions, according to spokesperson Jiří Ovčáček.

Sweden and Finland filed a joint request to join NATO in early June in response to Russia's war in Ukraine, ending their long-time neutrality. To join NATO, their entry must be approved by all 30 member countries.

So far, 23 of the 30 member states have approved the accession of Sweden and Finland into NATO. The Czech Republic has been one of the slowest countries to do so, along with Spain, Portugal, Slovakia, Greece, and Hungary.

On Saturday morning, the Czech Chamber of Deputies approved the Nordic country's accession with widespread support. A total of 134 out of 152 members present voted in favor of Finland joining NATO, and 135 of 151 members voted in favor of Sweden.

Four members of opposition party SPD voted against Sweden and Finland joining NATO, though party leaders had previously shown support for their accession.

"This is in the interest of the Czech Republic and its security to enlarge the North Atlantic Alliance by these two states," Czech Foreign Minister Jan Lipavský told journalists, noting that the accession of Finland and Sweden would be beneficial to both NATO as well as the Czech Republic. 

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"It means and unprecedented enlargement of NATO's full strength," added former Defense Minister Lubomír Metnar.

Turkey remains the largest obstacle in Sweden and Finland's bid to join NATO. While an agreement was reached by the three countries in June, the Nordic countries have yet to meet those terms, according to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"Turkey will not ratify the memberships of the two countries until the promises that were taken under the record are fulfilled," Erdogan said in reference to the Madrid memorandum.

Erdogan demands that Sweden and Finland lift bans on arms trade with Turkey, as well as extradite 33 people including alleged members of terrorist organizations to Ankara.

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