Finland and Sweden will reportedly file formal requests to join NATO. This move comes as a serious shift in Europe’s security model following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson along with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö jointly stated that both nations have agreed to cooperate during the entire joining process.
Andersson pointed out that a NATO membership will reinforce security in the country as well as in the Baltic Sea region. The joint application with Finland signifies their contribution to security in the northern part of Europe.
The move came as the White House scheduled a meeting between POTUS Joe Biden, Andersson, and Niinistö to broadly discuss their bids to join NATO.
Interestingly, Finland has stayed non-aligned or neutral since the end of World War 2, whereas Sweden has avoided military alliances for over two centuries. For a while, both countries saw NATO membership as an unnecessary way of provoking Russia.
The Swedish Prime Minister stated that the simultaneous submissions showcased the gruesome impact of Russia’s war crimes on Ukrainian soil as well as the traditions, history, culture, and values shared between the neighbors.
Niinistö opined that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has changed the perspective and stated that the NATO membership will project the Nordic region as a stronghold of welfare, democracy, human rights, and security.
The declarations came along the heels of the Finnish parliament passing the proposal to join the alliance. This proposal was passed a day after the Swedish administration affirmed to do likewise.
Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of NATO expressed delight in welcoming the two countries. But he noted that the applications should receive approvals from all the 30 members of the alliance.
Turkey seems to be disinterested in the bids, citing Finland and Sweden’s history of hosting Kurdish militant group members.