The Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin (SDP) has said that Finland will make a decision on joining NATO within weeks.
"I do not give any timetable [for] when we make our decisions. But I think it will happen pretty quickly. In weeks, not months," Marin said in a joint press conference with the Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson In Stockholm on Wednesday.
Ministers met to discuss the security situation in Europe following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
Marin emphasized that it was important for Finnish MPs to reach a broad consensus on joining NATO and pointed out that there were risks involved in applying for and not applying for membership.
Several analysts expect both Finland and Sweden to apply for NATO membership in time for the June summit in Brussels.
“Everything changed” after the Russian invasion
When asked why the countries that have so far remained non-aligned are moving so fast in the process, Marin replied: "Everything changed when Russia invaded Ukraine. I think the way people think in Finland, including Sweden, has changed and changed very dramatically because of Russia’s actions, and this is very clear."
According to the Prime Minister, Russia’s attack on Ukraine has created a need for Finland to reconsider its security strategy.
"This is a very important time in history. It is before and after February 24th. The world of security has changed completely" Swedish Prime Minister Andersson added.
Finland is currently a partner of NATO and will no longer be covered by Article 5, which states that an attack on one member state is an attack on all.
"There is no other way to obtain security guarantees than NATO deterrence and common defense, as guaranteed by NATO Article 5," Marin pointed out.
On Wednesday, the Finnish government submitted a report to Parliament on the change in the foreign and security policy environment as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The report does not take a direct position on NATO membership, but it will form the basis for a parliamentary debate on the issue in the coming weeks.
According to Marin, the paper presents NATO not just as a military alliance, but as a political alliance.
Finland and Sweden could go in different directions
Both Marin and Andersson emphasized that although Finland and Sweden have intensified defense co-operation and recognize the need for dialogue, each country will decide whether to apply for NATO membership independently.
This means that Finland and Sweden could make different decisions or have completely different timetables for NATO membership.
The Swedish Parliament is expected to receive its safety report by the end of May. However, Andersson pointed out that the analysis could be completed before then.
"We really need to think about what is best for Sweden, our security and our peace in this new situation." he noted.
"Both of our countries understand that our security choices do not only apply to our countries, but to the Nordic countries as a whole." Marin added.
Source: The Nordic Page