Finland officially decided on Tuesday to apply for NATO membership. With this, the Finnish government is taking the same step as their Swedish colleagues, who said Monday announced.
President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced on Sunday that the government is behind a membership application. On Tuesday, parliament backed the government’s decision.
Finland and Sweden will probably submit their application together this week. NATO has promised the Northern European countries a quick and smooth accession.
Finland has been working more closely with NATO since 2014. In that year, Moscow annexed the Crimean peninsula of Ukraine. Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, more voices have been raised for membership, both in politics and among the population.
The requests from Finland and Sweden had been in the air for some time. The decisions have major consequences for the military balance of power in Europe.
Thirty NATO countries must approve accession
Russia sees NATO expansion as a threat to its own security and has warned Finland and Sweden of “serious military and political consequences”.
While the membership process is underway, Finland and Sweden will not be protected by NATO in the event of an attack. The United States, Germany and the United Kingdom have already committed to provide security guarantees.
Neighboring countries that are already members of NATO (Norway, Denmark and Iceland) also announced in a joint statement that they would come to the aid of Finland and Sweden in the event of an attack.
Finland and Sweden will not be full NATO members until all thirty members agree to join. This approval process can take up to a year. Only Turkey has objections registered mail against membership, but NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg is confident he can allay this country’s concerns.