As one of the first NATO states, Germany agrees to the accession of two Nordic partners. But there is also criticism of a NATO partner in the south.

Green light from Germany: The Bundestag has approved by a large majority for Finland and Sweden to join NATO as a direct reaction to Russia’s war against Ukraine. The factions of the traffic light coalition of SPD, Greens and FDP as well as the Union and a majority of the AfD from the opposition voted for this. There was rejection from the left. «For a long time, Finns and Swedes were convinced that neutrality would guarantee their security. And you only say goodbye to such a fundamental conviction when something really drastic has happened,” said Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht (SPD) in the plenary session. “And Putin’s brutal war of aggression in Ukraine is such a drastic event.”

On Tuesday, the ambassadors of the 30 alliance states signed the so-called accession protocols at the headquarters in Brussels in the presence of the foreign ministers of the two Nordic countries. So far, Canada, Estonia, Norway, Denmark and Iceland have ratified accession. In Germany, the actual ratification certificate is issued by Federal President Frank-Walter Steinmeier. The Federal Council approved the move on Friday, with the chamber of states refraining from calling the mediation committee on the law.

Turkey as an insecurity factor

Even after the NATO summit in Madrid, Turkey is still considered a factor of uncertainty. To the annoyance of the other allies, the country had already delayed the start of the accession process for several weeks, citing Sweden and Finland’s alleged support for organizations such as the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party PKK, the Syrian Kurdish militia YPG and the Gülen movement. It remains to be seen whether Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will allow the way to be cleared.

“With Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Putin’s neo-imperial policy, which ultimately resulted in Russian dominance over Eastern and Central Eastern Europe and large parts of the Baltic Sea region, failed miserably,” said Union parliamentary group leader Johann Wadephul (CDU) in the Bundestag. He demanded that the federal government must act as advocate for the two states in the accession process – with a view to Turkey. “Conditions from Turkey that relativize the rule of law standards of these two states or even call on them to violate the Council of Europe’s Human Rights Convention would not be acceptable. At this point, Germany must clearly stand by the side of these two states.”

Gysi declares a negative attitude

For the left, the former parliamentary group leader and foreign policy expert Gregor Gysi said he wanted to recommend abstention. After the trilateral declaration by Sweden, Finland and Turkey, which is to the detriment of Kurds and Turkish government opponents, the left votes against it. “Erdogan will be even bolder after his success,” said Gysi. “The next compulsion is imminent. Because Erdogan indirectly threatens not to ratify the accession if the 73 alleged terrorist suspects from Finland and Sweden are not extradited to Turkey. The price that Sweden, Finland and the whole of NATO have to pay to Turkey for joining against the Kurds is too high.”

The AfD gave overwhelming approval for the accession of the two northern states. Former parliamentary group leader and current AfD honorary leader Alexander Gauland said his party expects no nuclear weapons to be stationed on the territory of the new NATO states. His own warnings about NATO expanding towards the Russian borders were correct, he said, but pointed out that there are now Russian expansion plans. Gauland: “Especially if we take history seriously as a teacher for the present and the future, we have to accept Finland’s and Sweden’s desire for greater security. Your decision. And our positive answer is realpolitik in the best sense.”

Two AfD members of the Bundestag made it clear in personal statements at the end of the debate that, unlike the majority of their parliamentary group, they did not vote in favor of joining NATO. The FDP politician Marie-Agnes Strack-Zimmermann, chairwoman of the defense committee, called out to them: “Greetings from Moscow.”