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The Slovenian Government’s Non-Uniform Vote on Sweden and Finland Joining NATO Is Scandalous

In May, Sweden and Finland officially applied to join NATO. The accession of new members to The North Atlantic Treaty Organisation must be confirmed by all 30 existing ones, and up to now, the accession has only been opposed by Turkey, with which Sweden and Finland have finally managed to come to an agreement. Slovenian politics is also in favour of the decision, while, as expected, the Left party (Levica) is strongly against the initiative. At its recent correspondence session, despite the opposition of two ministers from the Left party, the government adopted the initiative to conclude the Protocols on the Accession of the Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Finland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and sent them to the National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Policy and EU Affairs, to be confirmed.

After Sweden and Finland officially applied to join NATO due to the changed security situation in the region, all of the other members now have to agree with their accession. Turkey refused to support the initiative until the last minute; however, it supposedly managed to find some common ground with the aforementioned countries at the last moment, with some help from US President Joe Biden. Slovenian politics also decided on this topic, and it is in favour of the initiative – except for the Left party, which has a different opinion. At the recent correspondence session of the government, both ministers of the Left party opposed the approval of initiatives to conclude protocols on the accession of Sweden and Finland to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, but since the Freedom Movement party (Gibanje svoboda) holds the majority by itself already, the government still approved the initiative and then sent it to the National Assembly’s Committee on Foreign Policy and EU Affairs. The committee will meet tomorrow, and the deputies of the Left party are expected to express their opposition to NATO.

Due to the changed security and political situation in the area resulting from the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Sweden and Finland have prepared a report on changes in their foreign political and security environment. The reports, which highlight the benefits of a NATO membership, were also supported by the Finnish and Swedish parliaments and the general public in both countries. The Kingdom of Sweden and the Republic of Finland formally applied for NATO membership on the 18th of May 2022, and today, they are expected to formally accept the invitation to join the organisation.

The Left party continues to stay the same
The opposition of the Left party was a completely expected move, as the party’s coordinator Luka Mesec already announced before joining the government what their position would be like. However, as part of the government, the Left party has temporarily given up its efforts of trying to get Slovenia to leave NATO, which they persistently advocate. They recently wrote on their website: “The Left party, upon entering the government, agreed to audit the megalomaniacal arms purchases that happened during the time of Minister Tonin. We will also try to convince our coalition partners not to give in to the pressures for armament and to direct investments in the Slovenian Army not to armoured vehicles for missions abroad or other offensive weapons but to equipment that will benefit the population, such as rescue helicopters and civil protection equipment in case of weather disasters.”

The three-day NATO summit began on Tuesday with a statement by Finnish President Sauli Niinist that Turkey has agreed to support Finland and Sweden in their NATO membership. Turkey, which has so far opposed it, changed its mind after signing a memorandum that strengthens, among other things, the defence cooperation between the three countries, including in the fight against the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) and its affiliates. Turkey treats the latter as a terrorist group. The agreement also includes the lifting of restrictions on arms sales to Turkey by Finland and Sweden. The country is expected to receive an invitation to NATO today. Following the publication of the decision on the agreement between Sweden, Finland and Turkey and the tripartite memorandum they signed, Biden called and congratulated Finland, Sweden and Turkey.

Tanja Brkić

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