Officials: Finland and Sweden Not Yet Ready to Formally Join NATO

The foreign ministers of both Sweden and Finland said Friday that they are both still analyzing if they will join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, and that final decisions have not yet been made.

During a press conference Friday, foreign ministers Pekka Haavisto of Finland and Ann Linde of Sweden said their respective countries are still evaluating joining the western treaty organization, especially after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, and would likely make the decision “in the same direction and in the same time frame.”

“We already have ongoing cooperation. Of course, if our security environment becomes more challenging of course we can add bilateral planning, and it includes all sectors on military cooperation,” Haavisto said. “What Finland decides will very much affect what Sweden is going to decide.”

Friday’s remarks somewhat contradict the policies announced by the countries earlier this month, with Finland saying it would likely decide on membership “quite fast.”

“Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has caused Finland to review our security strategy,” Defense News reported Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin saying during a meeting April 13 in Stockholm, Sweden. “I won’t offer any kind of timetable as to when we will make our decision, but I think it will happen quite fast. Within weeks, not within months. The security landscape has completely changed.”

Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson said the country would study the issue “carefully” before making a decision.

“What we need to do is to carefully think through what is in the best long-term interests of Sweden, and what we need to do to guarantee our national security, our sovereignty and secure peace in this new heightened tension and situation,” Andersson said April 13.

The deliberations about joining NATO come as both Finland and Sweden took part in joint military exercises with NATO troops from April 25-27, according to NATO.

The military alliance was formed in 1949 as a form of protection between western nations and the Eastern bloc, including Russia, and now includes 30 full-member countries.

It’s primary protection for member nations rest in Article 5 of its charter which says an attack on one nation would be considered an attack on all members.

In Article 10 of the organization’s charter, NATO has an “open door” policy for nations to join, and membership is “open to any European state in a position to further the principles of this treaty and to contribute to the security of the North Atlantic area.”

Potential member nations must subscribe to the values of the organization and meet other certain military, political, and economic criteria, according to the organization.


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