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    1. Finland and Sweden's path to potential NATO membership – updating thread for news and opinion pieces [2022-07-05]

      About: This is an updating resource of news articles on Finland and Sweden's path to potential membership of NATO. The articles are sorted by publication date, with the most recent at the top....


      This is an updating resource of news articles on Finland and Sweden's path to potential membership of NATO.

      The articles are sorted by publication date, with the most recent at the top. Feel free to recommend articles in the comments.

      The thread title contains the date of the latest update to the main thread, for ease of use.


      NATO nations sign accession protocols for Sweden, Finland

      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 summit: Sweden, Finland boost unity against Putin

      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

      Turkey says summit is not deadline for talks on Finland and Sweden's NATO bids

      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

      Former Kurdish rebel has key role in Sweden’s NATO bid

      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 threatens year’s delay to Swedish and Finnish entry to NATO

      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 to seek constructive progress with Turkey over NATO bid

      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 prepare for large NATO naval drill, amid Turkish concerns

      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

      Sweden's NATO bid: 'We are not naive,' defense minister tells DW

      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 optimistic that 'sooner or later' Finland and Sweden will be NATO members

      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, Sweden to send teams to Turkey to discuss NATO bids, Haavisto says

      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

      Ukraine war: US fully backs Sweden and Finland Nato bids, Biden says

      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

      Why some young Swedes remain uneasy about joining NATO

      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

      Why has Erdoğan doubled down on threat to veto Nordic NATO bids?

      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

      Finland and Sweden may join NATO – but even they can’t guarantee that will make them safer

      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’s historic NATO bids, explained

      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

      Finland's Parliament likely to vote on NATO application on Tuesday

      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 formally confirms intention to join NATO

      “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

      Turkey won't block Finland and Sweden joining NATO, Denmark says

      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

      Opinion: In keeping with its 1939 tradition, Finland is saying 'nyet' to Vladimir Putin

      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

      NATO: New challenges for the alliance as Finland and Sweden inch closer to membership?

      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 plans to send NATO application next week, Expressen daily says

      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 for NATO membership "without delay", Finnish leaders say

      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

      Ukraine conflict: What is NATO and will Finland and Sweden join?

      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

      Is NATO's Nordic expansion a threat or boost to Europe?

      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

      Scandinavian allies support Finnish, Swedish NATO bids

      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

      Sweden’s ruling Social Democrats divided on decision to join NATO

      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

      The NATO accession Sweden never saw coming

      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

      Putin is pushing Finland and Sweden into NATO’s arms

      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

      Going Nordic: What NATO membership would mean for Finland and Sweden

      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

      Will Finland and Sweden join NATO?

      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

      Sweden’s decision to join NATO isn’t just about security

      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

      Finland is closer than ever to joining NATO

      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

      Finland and Sweden belong in NATO

      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 and Finland, even the skeptics are coming round to NATO bids

      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

      Putin’s strategic error

      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 PM rejects opposition calls to consider joining NATO

      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, Sweden brush off Moscow’s warning on joining NATO

      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

      Finland and Sweden wait for the Baltic states

      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 threats against Ukraine could push Finland and Sweden toward NATO

      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 not negotiating about NATO membership, foreign minister says

      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

      The hem and haw of Sweden’s relationship with NATO

      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

      18 votes