OSLO – The newspaper Verdens Gang, quoted Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (ER: see featured image), who confirmed that the application would be handled with the shortest possible lead time. “It is about not making that period longer than necessary,” said the Norwegian Prime Minister.

Over the years, several NATO secretaries have said that Sweden would be able to gain membership in NATO quite easily, something that the current Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has confirmed.

“We know that Sweden meets all NATO standards. You have a high degree of synergy, you have the political institutions required to have control over the forces of the defense,” Stoltenberg previously told Swedish daily DN.

What is not clear, however, is how long an application may take. Officially, a new country’s application must be approved by all 30 members of the military alliance before it can be accepted and the process usually takes several years. According to Stoltenberg, all current member states would approve Swedish and Finnish membership, and there are strong incentives for NATO to accept Finland, with its long border with Russia and strong defense army and Sweden with its strategic location, large arms industry and already extensive cooperation with NATO.

According to several sources in both Finland and Sweden, the application from the two countries will be submitted at the same time or in a short sequence already in May.