Finland wants to join NATO “without delay” in a major political shift

Finland has announced that it is in favor of joining , a major political shift triggered by Russia’s invasion of . Its neighbor, , is expected to decide to join the military alliance in the coming days.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” President Niinisto and Sanna Marin said in a joint statement on Thursday.

A special committee will announce Finland’s formal decision to apply for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on Sunday.

“NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security. As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defense alliance,” Niinisto and Marin said, marking a change in foreign policy, away from military alliance freedom.

Finland, which shares a 1,300 km border with Russia, had refrained from joining NATO during the to avoid provoking the , with which it has a troubled past.

The Soviet Union invaded Finland in 1939 – the so-called Winter War – and acquired 10 percent of its territory in the subsequent peace treaty.

U-turn on NATO membership

As recently as January, Marin said a NATO bid would be “highly unlikely” during her mandate, which ends in April 2023.

But after Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, Finland’s political and public opinion swung dramatically in favor of membership.

says NATO’s military alliance has survived the origins of the Cold War

Neighboring Sweden is also expected to change policy and support an application. The ruling Social Democrats are still debating and the party will make a decision on Sunday.

Russia has warned of “military and political repercussions” if Finland and Sweden decide to join NATO.

Membership can be fast

The Baltic states, once ruled by and now members of NATO, welcomed Finland’s announcement.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has said that the military alliance would welcome Finland and Sweden and said that it would be possible to allow them to join “fairly quickly”.

The next step for Finland is that a security policy meeting at ministerial level will meet on Sunday and make the formal decision to submit an application, which will be submitted to the Riksdag.

Macron: Russia’s invasion of Ukraine gives NATO an “electric shock”

Following the submission of an official tender, legislators in all 30 NATO member states would need to ratify their application – a process that could take months.

Pekka Haavisto said on Tuesday that he believes that Finland can become a member of NATO “at the earliest” on October 1.

(with cords)

Originally published on RFI

Finland wants to join NATO "without delay" in a major political shift


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