Finland and Sweden Submit Applications to Join NATO

PeopleExecutives ♦ Published: May 18, 2022; 11:05 ♦ (Vindobona)

With Russia posing a threat to Finland and Sweden through its attack on Ukraine, both countries decided to join NATO. The ambassadors of Finland and Sweden handed over the relevant documents to NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg this morning.

Finnish Ambassador to NATO Klaus Korhonen (l.) and Swedish Ambassador to NATO Axel Wernhofffrom (r.) handed over the relevant documents to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg (m.). / Picture: © NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

The two Scandinavian countries Finland and Sweden have officially applied for membership in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

The Nordic countries want to join the military alliance out of concern for their security following Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Both countries are thus abandoning their long tradition of military non-alignment.

Finnish Ambassador to NATO Klaus Korhonen and Swedish Ambassador to NATO Axel Wernhofffrom handed over the relevant documents to Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg at the alliance's headquarters in Brussels early on Wednesday.

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg thanked the Ambassadors "so much for handing over the applications for Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO." Stoltenberg emphasized that this choice was made through democratic processes.

The NATO Secretary-General stressed that Finland's and Sweden's membership in NATO would increase western security.

Stoltenberg assured that the "security interests of all Allies have to be taken into account. And we are determined to work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions. Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by Allies committing to Finland’s and Sweden’s security. NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region, and NATO and Allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary. All Allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement."

All 30 alliance states must agree to the northern enlargement.

A meeting of the 30 NATO ambassadors on the two applications must now take place. At this meeting, it is likely to be decided to start the admission process for the two candidates Finland and Sweden. If everything goes according to plan, the application protocols could be signed within two weeks.

Voices against Finland and Sweden joining NATO

Turkey, however, is threatening to block the admission procedure of the Nordic countries with a veto. In Croatia, too, voices are being raised that want to block the accession of both countries to NATO.

The Croatian President Zoran Milanovic and Turkish President Recep Erdogan expressed their concerns.

Milanovic is said to be linking Finland's entry into NATO with a "solution to the problems in the Balkans". Milanovic wants to change the electoral law in Bosnia- Herzegovina, but it is still believed that Turkey's demands are more serious and cause greater concern than Milanovic's.

Turkey complains to Sweden and Finland about its alleged support for Kurdish, as they are called in Ankara, terrorist organizations, such as the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK). Turkey has long especially accused Sweden, where many Turkish immigrants live, of harboring Kurdish extremist groups and followers of preacher Fethullah Gülen. Erdogan blames the Gülen movement for the 2016 coup attempt in Turkey. Some experts claim Turkey could also put the issue of recognition of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus on the table.

As reported by Vindobona.orgLukashenko, President of Belarus, also condemned Finland and Sweden for joining NATO and accuses NATO of hypocrisy, saying that "NATO continues to declare its defensive nature. The truly defensive and peace-loving position of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation is in contrast to this background."

North Atlantic Treaty Organization