Finland and Sweden May Apply To Join NATO As Early As Summer
( Breitbart )
Both Finland and Sweden may be set to apply to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) military alliance as early as June, largely in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine earlier this year.
Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin is expected to make a decision on whether or not to apply for membership in NATO within the coming weeks, and Finnish MPs have been presented with a new 49-page report this week examining the possible impact of Finland joining the alliance.
Finnish President Sauli Niinistö stated that a decision would be made before a NATO summit set to be held in June but did not comment on specifics regarding the possible application, while Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto stated that the Russian invasion has had long-lasting effects on Finland’s security situation, Yle reports.
“The security situation in Europe and Finland is more serious and difficult to predict than at any time since the Cold War. The change is estimated to be long-lasting,” Haavisto said.
Interesting perspective: Role of #Sweden & #Finland in @NATO’s Defense of the #Baltic States https://t.co/btaP9imQcs pic.twitter.com/OkW6XYiTru — Estonia at NATO (@estNATO) April 29, 2016
According to the Foreign Minister, following the new report, the Finnish parliament is expected to hold an in-depth debate on ATO membership and various committees are expected to discuss the report as well.
Finnish Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen stated that for the country to join NATO, there must be clear support from the country’s parliament, the government, the president, NATO member states and the general public of Finland, who, according to a recent poll are now in favour of membership.
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin held a press conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Wednesday and stated that a decision on NATO would happen in “weeks not months.”
Andersson, who leads the Swedish Social Democrats, is also looking to submit a NATO application by June, according to Swedish media. The Social Democrats have called an extraordinary meeting to be held on May 24th to discuss the issue, Swedish broadcaster SVT reports.
The move comes after Andersson had previously stated in March that Sweden joining NATO could increase tensions saying, “If Sweden were to choose to send in an application to join NATO in the current situation, it would further destabilize this area of Europe and increase tensions.”
“I have been clear during this whole time in saying that what is best for Sweden’s security and for the security of this region of Europe is that the government has a long-term, consistent and predictable policy and that is my continued belief,” she said.
While the issue of joining NATO is popular in Finland, less than half of Swedes are supportive of their country renouncing its longstanding neutral stance by joining the alliance, according to a poll released this week by the firm Novus.
The poll found that 45 per cent of Swedes would like to join NATO but 33 per cent are totally against the idea and a further 22 per cent said they are undecided on the issue.