OREANDA-NEWS. Sweden and Finland meet many of the standards of the North Atlantic Alliance, so these countries can quickly join the bloc if they so desire. This was announced on Thursday, January 13, by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

“They meet NATO standards in most areas, they have well-organized, well-managed security and defense institutions. <...> That is, this (the entry of countries into NATO) can happen very quickly if they make such a request, but, in the end, this requires a political decision by Sweden and Finland, as well as thirty NATO allies, " he said during a joint press conference with Estonian President Alar Karis.

Earlier, on January 11, US Deputy Secretary of State Victoria Nuland said that Washington was ready to discuss with Finland and Sweden the issue of their entry into NATO, if these countries express their desire to do so. The Deputy Secretary of State also added that both states, like any others that have expressed a desire to join NATO, will be judged "by the high standards" of the alliance.

The day before, Mariestads Tidningen reported that Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson during a press conference noted the government's lack of intention to change its foreign policy line and declare the need to join NATO.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, during her New Year's address to the citizens, said that the country still has the opportunity to apply for membership in NATO. President Sauli Niiniste also reminded of this possibility during the New Year's greetings.