Shaheen, Tillis Issue Joint Statement Calling on Hungary & Türkiye to Swiftly Approve Sweden & Finland’s NATO Accession Protocols
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC), co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, issued the following joint statement urging Hungary and Türkiye to swiftly approve NATO accession protocols for Sweden and Finland. The Senators’ call comes in response to Hungary delaying a vote on the accession protocols and Türkiye’s announcement that it would consider Finland’s bid separately from Sweden’s:
“The Senate NATO Observer Group is concerned by Hungary’s decision to delay the vote ratifying Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession bid. Although we welcome today’s decision made by Türkiye to formally ratify Finland’s accession protocol, Türkiye’s decision to decouple Finland’s NATO membership bid from Sweden is disappointing and unnecessary. Sweden has worked to fulfill all aspects of the 2022 Memorandum of Understanding agreed to by Sweden, Finland and Türkiye, and to date, twenty-eight out of thirty NATO members have ratified the bids of these two capable partners. Sweden and Finland will bring unique capabilities to the Alliance that will better enable us to meet today’s challenges and tomorrow’s threats,” said the Senators. “We call on Hungary and Türkiye to fulfill their obligations to the transatlantic family and vote on both accession protocols without further delay. In particular, Hungary should stop exploiting Finland and Sweden’s NATO accession protocols to its own benefit. For more than a year now, NATO has stood resolutely in support of Ukraine as Vladimir Putin continues to wage an unprovoked, illegal war. By welcoming two new members to NATO who share our commitment to democracy and peace in Europe, the Alliance will remain united in holding Putin accountable for violating the rules-based world to fulfill a delusional expansionist agenda. We strongly urge Hungary and Türkiye to ratify both Sweden and Finland’s NATO accession bids without delay."
Shaheen and Tillis met with representatives from the Turkish government, as well as U.S. Ambassador to Türkiye Jeff Flake earlier this week. As co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, which they re-started together in 2018, the Senators lead bipartisan efforts in the Senate in support of the transatlantic Alliance and as Finland and Sweden seek accession into NATO.