This is an updating resource of news articles on Finland and Sweden's path to potential membership of NATO.
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The thirty NATO allies signed off on the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland on Tuesday, sending the membership bids of the two nations to the alliance capitals for legislative approvals — and possible political trouble in Turkey.
AP – Raf Casert – 5th July 2022
NATO's ambitions are growing. Sweden and Finland are set to join and the alliance is strengthening its eastern flank with more troops. This is the right approach against Vladimir Putin, says Bernd Riegert.
DW – Bernd Riegert – 29th June 2022
Discussions between Turkey, Finland and Sweden about the Nordic countries' NATO membership will continue and an alliance summit in Madrid next week is not a deadline, Turkey said after talks in Brussels on Monday.
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership in response to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. But the bids have faced opposition from Turkey, which has been angered by what it says is Helsinki and Stockholm's support for Kurdish militants and arms embargoes on Ankara.
Reuters – 20th June 2022
When Turkey’s president rails against “terrorists” in the Swedish Parliament, Amineh Kakabaveh is convinced he is talking about her.
The former Kurdish rebel fighter turned Swedish lawmaker has emerged as a central figure in the drama surrounding Sweden and Finland’s historic bid to join NATO. Turkey opposes NATO membership for the two Nordic countries, accusing them of harboring Kurdish militants.
AP – Karl Ritter – 14th June 2022
Turkey has said it is willing to delay Swedish and Finnish membership of NATO for more than a year unless it receives satisfactory assurances that the two Nordic countries are willing to address support for Kurdish groups it regards as terrorist organisations.
The Guardian – Patrick Wintour – 14th June 2022
Sweden will look to make constructive progress in talks with Turkey on Ankara's objections over the Nordic country's application to join the NATO defensive alliance, Foreign Minister Ann Linde said on Friday.
Reuters – 10th June 2022
Finland and Sweden are preparing for an enlarged NATO naval exercise in the Baltic Sea on Sunday, amid Turkish concerns over their membership.
NATO's fortnight-long 'Baltops 22' is being hosted this year by Sweden, with the Finnish Navy and Air force also taking part.
Euronews – Philip Andrew Churm – 4th June 2022
Russia's invasion of Ukraine "fundamentally" changed the way Swedes thought about joining the NATO military alliance, Swedish Defense Minister Peter Hultqvist told DW.
DW – Rebecca Staudenmaier – 1st June 2022
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto expressed optimism that "sooner or later, Finland and Sweden will be members of NATO" and said discussions with the Turkish government would continue as Ankara threatens to block the two nations from joining the defensive alliance.
CNN – Jennifer Hansler – 27th May 2022
Finland and Sweden will send delegations to Ankara on Wednesday to try to resolve Turkish opposition to their applications for membership of the NATO military alliance, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday.
Reuters – 24th May 2022
Sweden and Finland have the "full, total and complete backing" of the US in their decision to apply for Nato membership, President Joe Biden says.
Both countries submitted their applications to be part of the Western defence alliance this week, marking a major shift in European geopolitics.
To join the alliance, the two nations need the support of all 30 Nato member states.
But the move by the Nordic nations has been opposed by Turkey.
BBC News – 20th May 2022
While the majority of Swedes are in favor of joining NATO, there are others who even took to the streets in protest. They warn the decision is rushed and that Sweden should better stick with its tradition of neutrality.
DW – Priyanka Shankar – 18th May 2022
After initial hesitation about the seriousness of Turkey’s objections, its president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, has doubled down on his threat to veto Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for membership of NATO, saying there is no point in either country sending delegations to Ankara to persuade him otherwise.
The Guardian – Patrick Wintour – 18th May 2022
For a long time, the Nordic countries saw themselves as sleekly humanitarian, peace-keeping powers. To an unusual degree, the national identities of Sweden and Finland are bound up with their foreign policy: Swedes identify with a centuries-old tradition of neutrality, whereas Finns point to their talent for realpolitik, making the best of their volatile geography, which includes an 830-mile border with Russia. As both countries now formally submit their applications to join the North Atlantic alliance, each of them will forgo this deviation from the European norm. Finland in particular now seems poised to adopt a more standard-issue foreign policy. But at what price?
The Guardian – Thomas Meaney – 18th May 2022
Finland and Sweden are seeking membership to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, a historic shift for two traditionally non-aligned countries and a major expansion of the Western alliance as war continues in Europe.
Vox – Jen Kirby – 17th May 2022
President Sauli Niinisto and the government decided officially on Sunday that Finland would apply for membership but the decision is pending Parliament's approval, which is expected with an overwhelming majority.
Debate in the legislature began on Monday and the first session finished more than 14 hours later, after midnight, after members gave 212 addresses on the topic, the vast majority in favour of joining.
Reuters – 17th May 2022
“Finland is applying for NATO membership,” said the country’s president, Sauli Niinistö, at a press conference. “A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region. We gain security and we also share it. It’s good to keep in mind that security isn’t a zero-sum game.”
The Guardian – Jon Henley – 15th May 2022
Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod believes the NATO alliance will prove united on the potential accession of Finland and Sweden, despite signals from Turkey suggesting Ankara is not ready to support the historic expansion.
Newsweek – David Brennan – 14th May 2022
Finland's membership in NATO would signal the end of over 70 years of Moscow's most enduring policy. This is a humiliation for Vladimir Putin, writes DW's Konstantin Eggert.
DW – Konstantin Eggert – 13th May 2022
Finland has announced its decision to join NATO as quickly as possible, Sweden is expected to follow suit shortly. What does this mean for the alliance?
DW – Priyanka Shankar – 12th May 2022
Sweden's government plans to submit an application to join NATO next week, following neighbour Finland in re-writing its post-World War Two security policy in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, daily Expressen said on Thursday.
Reuters – 12th May 2022
Finland must apply to join the NATO military alliance "without delay", Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Thursday, a major policy shift triggered by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.
Reuters – Anne Kauranen & Essi Lehto – 12th May 2022
Boris Johnson has said the UK would support Sweden and Finland if they came under attack. Both countries are considering whether to join NATO, with a decision expected shortly.
BBC News – 11th May 2022
Finland and Sweden, two neutral Nordic countries, are so alarmed by Russia's invasion of Ukraine that they are both now seriously considering joining NATO, as early as this summer.
BBC News – Frank Gardner – 9th May 2022
The Scandinavian members of NATO have given their full backing to the prospect of Finland and Sweden joining the intergovernmental military alliance.
"This is your decision and your decision alone. But be assured: If you decide to join, you have the full support from Denmark," Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said on the sidelines of a summit between the five Scandinavian countries and India on Wednesday.
DW – 5th May 2022
The first signs of a backlash to a possible Swedish application to join NATO have emerged within the ruling Social Democrats, at the start of a critical month in which Sweden and neighbouring Finland are expected to move rapidly towards a decision.
The Guardian – Patrick Wintour – 4th May 2022
On May 17, President Sauli Niinisto of Finland is scheduled to arrive in Sweden. He’ll meet with King Carl XVI Gustaf and the Swedish government before leaving the next day. And sometime during his visit, Sweden and Finland are expected to announce they’re both applying for membership of NATO. Finland has—remarkably—taken the lead, and Sweden is likely to follow, simply because if Finland joins there’s really no reason to not to do the same. Sweden is, in fact, NATO’s luckiest-ever joiner, a country swept into the alliance without having to lobby for membership and without its government even expressing a desire to join.
Foreign Policy – Elisabeth Braw – 29th April 2022
Mr. Rasmussen is a former secretary general of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and a former prime minister of Denmark.
When announcing Russia’s imminent invasion of Ukraine back in February, President Vladimir Putin mentioned NATO 40 times. It was clear he wanted to present NATO as the devil — but it wasn’t always like that.
New York Times – Anders Fogh Rasmussen – 25th April 2022
As they watch Russia unleash total war against a European neighbor, Sweden and Finland seem to agree: It’s finally time to join NATO.
With public opinion turning strongly in favor, both countries are inching closer toward formally joining the Alliance. Just this week, their prime ministers publicly telegraphed their strong support for such a move, though Finland appears more certain than Sweden and likely to move first.
But what would that look like? For answers we reached out to Leo Michel, a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center’s Transatlantic Security Initiative and the Finnish Institute of International Affairs, who previously served as director of NATO policy at the Pentagon. Check out his responses to our questions below.
Atlantic Council – 15th April 2022
The war in Ukraine may bring NATO new members. Finland and Sweden are closer than ever to ditching their neutrality and applying to join. Bernd Riegert reports from Brussels.
DW – Bernd Riegert – 14th April 2022
Will Sweden join Nato? The country looks set to join Finland in applying for membership, but the debate in Stockholm is far from straightforward.
New Statesman – Megan Gibson – 14th April 2022
Since 1945, Finland has sought cordial relations with its vast Russian neighbor. But Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine has emboldened champions of Finnish NATO membership — and made things harder for left-wing critics of the military alliance.
Jacobin – Tatu Ahponen – 13th April 2022
Though fundamentally geared toward defense, NATO looms as a mortal threat to Russia in President Vladimir Putin’s geopolitical imagination. Mr. Putin has grown increasingly agitated with NATO’s eastward expansion since the Cold War’s end three decades ago, which has brought most of Europe under the alliance’s mutual security guarantee. Mr. Putin cited the need to prevent NATO from reaching Russia’s borders via the inclusion of Ukraine as one of his reasons to invade that neighbor on Feb. 24.
Washington Post – Editorial – 13th April 2022
In Sweden, support for joining NATO among the population as a whole has risen from around 35 percent to 46 percent over the past month. In Finland, it has spiked to over 60 percent.
Politico – Charlie Duxbury – 8th April 2022
When Vladimir Putin began laying the groundwork for his invasion of Ukraine, he pointed to what he regards as the existential threat posed by the West encroaching farther into the post-Soviet space. Nearly two weeks into Putin’s devastating and costly invasion, that fear has turned into a self-fulfilling prophecy: The once-remote possibility of Ukraine joining the European Union and NATO now seems more plausible, and even in historically neutral countries such as Finland and Sweden (both of which are already EU members), public support for joining NATO has surged to record levels.
The Atlantic – Yasmeen Serhan – 9th March 2022
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson on Tuesday rejected opposition calls to consider joining NATO following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, saying an application now would destabilize security in Europe.
Reuters – 8th March 2022
Finland and Sweden have brushed off warnings from neighboring Russia that their possible joining of NATO would trigger “serious military-political consequences” from Moscow for the two countries.
AP – Jari Tanner – 26th February 2022
The Baltic States used to be a problem for Russia. Now they are a headache for their Nordic neighbors, Finland and Sweden. Likely membership of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in NATO is forcing Finland and Sweden to reconsider their commitment to military nonalignment. Traditionalists in Helsinki and Stockholm do not like it a bit.
The Baltic enthusiasm for NATO and the Finnish-Swedish distaste for the organization stem from the same source: a refusal to believe that NATO has changed in any meaningful way. The Baltic states see it as directed against Russia and want to join it for that reason. The Finns and Swedes share the perception and reach the opposite conclusion: They want to hear nothing about membership.
New York Times – Risto E J Penttila – 25th January 2022
Russian military threats against Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s unpredictability are forcing Sweden and Finland to reconsider their policy of non-alignment toward NATO. If admitted, each would enhance security in NATO’s northeastern flank and put Russia on notice. NATO’s open door policy allows nation-states to initiate membership plans if they meet guidelines delineated in Article X of the North Atlantic Charter. Finland and Sweden are ideal NATO candidates.
The Hill – Chris J Dolan – 19th January 2022
Finland has no plans at present to join NATO, its foreign minister Pekka Haavisto said on Friday, amid heightened security tensions between Finland’s giant neighbour Russia and Ukraine.
“Finland does not discuss with NATO joining it, nor does Finland have such a project upcoming … Finland’s security policy remains unchanged,” Haavisto told reporters at a teleconference following a meeting of European Union foreign ministers in France.
Euronews – 15th January 2022
To date, Sweden has looked at whether or not it joins NATO as a matter of identity and image rather than an existential security issue. After the end of World War II, Sweden chose to continue its policy of neutrality, which had served it well in both world wars and continued to do so during the Cold War. At the same time, it is a known fact that Sweden collaborated with Germany in World War II and has cooperated with NATO since the establishment of the Alliance. The essence and meaning of this cooperation have changed and it has now become a decisive factor in ensuring Sweden’s national security. There is increasing talk about joining the Alliance. The topic that has long been a taboo has entered the programmes of political parties.
ICDS – Riina Kaljurand – 22nd April 2019