‘Germany very confident’ of NATO, Sweden, Finland deal

A picture taken on Nov 20, 2019 shows a NATO flag at the NATO headquarters in Brussels, during a NATO Foreign Affairs ministers' summit. (KENZO TRIBOUILLARD / AFP)

BERLIN – Germany is "very confident" NATO will reach an agreement with Sweden and Finland over bid for membership of the alliance but it would not be a "catastrophe" if this did not happen by the summit in Madrid next week, a German government source said.

"As nice as it would be to announce concrete steps.. it would not be a catastrophe if it needed a few more weeks," the source said. "What is decisive from our point of view is there are no unsurmountable problems".

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Sweden and Finland applied to join the Western defense alliance last month, in response to the conflict in Ukraine. But they have faced opposition from Turkey, which has accused them of supporting and harbouring Kurdish militants and other groups it deems terrorists.