NATO membership discussions in Finland and Sweden as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

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Author (Corporate)
Publication Date 2022-
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Summary:

Information Guide concerning the requests by Finland and Sweden to join the NATO alliance.

Further information:

For much of the Cold War, Finland retain a policy of neutrality towards the Western and Eastern blocs and limited its military activities. Since the 1990s and across multiple government, the Finnish position was that joining NATO was unnecessary and it was preferable to retain an independent defence policy. As for Sweden, the country decided in 1949 not to join NATO and declared a security policy aiming for non-alignment in peace and neutrality in war. This position was maintained without much discussion during the Cold War. The debate on NATO membership was recovered in the 1990s. While membership was never envisaged, both countries have been increasingly cooperating with the defence alliance.

The security situation in Eastern Europe suffered an alteration as tension between Ukraine and Russia increased. Russia ultimately decided to invade Ukraine in February 2022, which led to fundamental change in the longstanding positions held by Finnish and Swedish authorities on the prospects of requesting to join NATO. Following a few weeks of public debate, Finland's Prime Minister and President jointly announced on 12 May 2022 the intention to apply for NATO membership.

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Commentary and Analysis
International Centre for Defence and Security (ICDS): Commentary, 05/01/2022: Finland and Sweden Do Not Have the ‘NATO Option’ They Think They Have https://icds.ee/en/finland-and-sweden-do-not-have-the-nato-option-they-think-they-have/
Foreign Policy: Analysis, 05/01/2022: Finland and Sweden Are Done With Deference to Russia https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/01/05/finland-sweden-nato-russia-putin/
Euro|topics, January 2022: Finland and Sweden: reinforcement for Nato? https://www.eurotopics.net/en/273998/
Royal United Services Institute (RUSI): Commentary, 07/01/2022: In the Firing Line: Finland, Sweden, NATO and European Security https://rusi.org/explore-our-research/publications/commentary/firing-line-finland-sweden-nato-and-european-security
European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR): View from the Council, 10/01/2022: Between Russia, Sweden, and NATO: Finland’s defence of “sovereignty equality” https://ecfr.eu/article/between-russia-sweden-and-nato-finlands-defence-of-sovereignty-equality/
Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW): Analyses, 04/01/2022: Finland: back to the NATO debate https://www.osw.waw.pl/en/publikacje/analyses/2022-01-04/finland-back-to-nato-debate
Foreign Policy, 02/02/2022: Russia Is Driving Sweden and Finland Closer to NATO https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/02/02/russia-sweden-finland-nato-ukraine/
The Conversation, 11/02/2022: Ukraine: the problem with copying Finland’s strict cold war neutrality https://theconversation.com/ukraine-the-problem-with-copying-finlands-strict-cold-war-neutrality-176706
The Irish Times, 26/02/2022: Ireland and Finland: Similar countries with vastly different security approaches https://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/ireland-and-finland-similar-countries-with-vastly-different-security-approaches-1.4812357
The Atlantic, 09/03/2022: Putin's Strategic Error https://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2022/03/putin-nato-finland-sweden-support-ukraine/626965/
The New Statesman, 22/03/2022: As Finland and Sweden consider Nato membership, Austria clings to neutrality https://www.newstatesman.com/international-politics/geopolitics/2022/03/as-finland-and-sweden-consider-nato-membership-austria-clings-to-neutrality
France24: Talking Europe, 01/04/2022: Sweden 'needs the security of NATO membership': Leading Swedish MEP https://www.france24.com/en/tv-shows/talking-europe/20220401-sweden-needs-the-security-of-nato-membership-leading-swedish-mep
Politico: Opinion, 13/04/2022: Sweden wins the NATO lottery https://www.politico.eu/article/sweden-nato-wins-lottery-finland-membership-russia-ukraine/
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Commentary, 14/04/2022: The Dilemma at the Heart of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO Membership Bids https://carnegieendowment.org/2022/04/14/dilemma-at-heart-of-finland-s-and-sweden-s-nato-membership-bids-pub-86890
Deutsche Welle, 14/04/2022: Will Finland and Sweden join NATO? https://p.dw.com/p/49xum
RFE/RL, 14/04/2022: Finland And Sweden's Steady March Toward NATO https://www.rferl.org/a/finland-sweden-nato-memberships-jozwiak-analysis/31803749.html
Atlantic Council: New Atlanticist, 15/04/2022: Going Nordic: What NATO membership would mean for Finland and Sweden https://www.atlanticcouncil.org/blogs/new-atlanticist/going-nordic-what-nato-membership-would-mean-for-finland-and-sweden/
Centre for Strategic & International Studies (CSIS): Critical Questions, 15/04/2022: Will Finland and Sweden Join NATO? https://www.csis.org/analysis/will-finland-and-sweden-join-nato
The Economist, 16/04/2022: Finland is hurtling towards NATO membership https://www.economist.com/europe/finland-is-hurtling-towards-nato-membership/
Project Syndicate: Commentary, 21/04/2022: What NATO’s Northern Expansion Means https://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/sweden-finland-nato-membership-expanded-european-defense-capacity-by-carl-bildt-2022-04
German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP): Point of View, 27/04/2022: Finland wants to use the “NATO option” https://www.swp-berlin.org/en/publication/finland-wants-to-use-the-nato-option
Carnegie Europe: Strategic Europe, 28/04/2022: Judy Asks: Is Finnish and Swedish NATO Membership Useful for European Security? https://carnegieeurope.eu/strategiceurope/87010
Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI): ISPI Counterpoint, 28/04/2022: Should Finland and Sweden join NATO? https://www.ispionline.it/en/pubblicazione/should-finland-and-sweden-join-nato-34786
LRT News, 03/05/2022: What would Sweden and Finland joining NATO mean for the Baltics? https://www.lrt.lt/en/news-in-english/19/1685454/what-would-sweden-and-finland-joining-nato-mean-for-the-baltics
German Marshall Fund of the United States (GMFUS): Insights, 06/05/2022: Sweden’s NATO Application Would Be a Sea Change — and a Logical Endpoint https://www.gmfus.org/news/swedens-nato-application-would-be-sea-change-and-logical-endpoint
Foreign Policy: Interview, 07/05/2022: Finland’s Foreign Minister on Why Helsinki Is Moving Toward NATO Now https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/05/07/finland-nato-foreign-minister-haavisto/
RFE/RL: Explainer, 09/05/2022: All You Need To Know As Finland And Sweden Inch Closer To NATO https://www.rferl.org/a/finland-sweden-nato-membership-explainer-russia-ukraine/31841209.html
Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO): Blog, 09/05/2022: Finland and Sweden’s Move to NATO https://blogs.prio.org/2022/05/finland-and-swedens-move-to-nato/
European Council on Foreign Affairs (ECFR): View from the Council, 10/05/2022: NordNATO: Why the case for Finland to join NATO is stronger than ever https://ecfr.eu/article/nordnato-why-the-case-for-finland-to-join-nato-is-stronger-than-ever/
Politico: Opinion, 12/05/2022: If Finland and Sweden join NATO, it’s on Russia https://www.politico.eu/article/finland-sweden-join-nato-russia/
Euronews, 12/05/2022: What are the next steps if Sweden and Finland ask to join NATO? https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/05/12/watch-sweden-and-finland-are-moving-closer-to-nato-but-what-are-the-steps-to-join
BBC News, 12/05/2022: Are Sweden and Finland going from neutral to Nato? https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-61397478
The Guardian, 12/05/2022: Why are Sweden and Finland not yet in Nato and does the alliance want them? https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/12/why-are-sweden-and-finland-not-yet-in-nato-and-does-the-alliance-want-them
The Economist, 12/05/2022: Sweden is following Finland’s lead on joining NATO https://www.economist.com/europe/2022/05/12/sweden-is-following-finlands-lead-on-joining-nato
Associated Press: Explainer, 12/05/2022: Why Finland, Sweden joining NATO will be big deal https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-putin-nato-sweden-0df5efbacd3102aeaa72b839b690c2d6
Deutsche Welle, 12/05/2022: NATO: New challenges for the alliance as Finland and Sweden inch closer to membership? https://p.dw.com/p/4B9Ro
The Conversation, 12/05/2022: Finland and Sweden’s desire to join Nato shows Putin has permanently redrawn the map of Europe https://theconversation.com/finland-and-swedens-desire-to-join-nato-shows-putin-has-permanently-redrawn-the-map-of-europe-182971
Euro|topics, May 2022: Finland wants to join Nato as soon as possible https://www.eurotopics.net/en/281506/

News
ERR News, 05/01/2022: Experts: Finland's accession to NATO unlikely in near future https://news.err.ee/1608455948/experts-finland-s-accession-to-nato-unlikely-in-near-future
Reuters, 14/01/2022: Finland not negotiating about NATO membership, foreign minister says https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/finland-not-negotiating-about-nato-membership-foreign-minister-says-2022-01-14/
Euronews, 15/01/2022: Finland not negotiating about NATO membership, foreign minister says https://www.euronews.com/2022/01/15/us-finland-security-nato
Helsinki Times, 18/01/2022: HS: Opposition to Nato membership drops to record low in Finland https://www.helsinkitimes.fi/finland/finland-news/domestic/20816-hs-opposition-to-nato-membership-drops-to-record-low-in-finland.html
Swissinfo.ch, 19/01/2022: Finland's PM says NATO membership is "very unlikely" on her watch https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/finland-s-pm-says-nato-membership-is--very-unlikely--on-her-watch/47276150
France24, 28/01/2022: Rattled by Russia, Finland and Sweden revisit NATO debate https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220128-rattled-by-russia-finland-and-sweden-revisit-nato-debate
Deutsche Welle, 01/02/2022: Sweden's Gotland gets ready for anything amid rising Russian threats https://p.dw.com/p/46MGK
YLE News, 24/02/2022: Foreign Minister: Finland taking part in Nato virtual summit https://yle.fi/news/3-12333031
The Local (Sweden), 24/02/2022: Swedish government firm on not joining Nato despite Russian aggression https://www.thelocal.se/20220224/swedish-government-firm-on-not-joining-nato-despite-russian-aggression/
EurActiv, 26/02/2022: Finland, Sweden to receive enhanced access to NATO intel over Ukraine https://www.euractiv.com/section/defence-and-security/news/finland-sweden-to-receive-enhanced-access-to-nato-intel-over-ukraine/
Politico, 28/02/2022: Finnish lawmakers to discuss potential NATO membership https://www.politico.eu/article/finland-nato-membership-sanna-marin-ukraine-russia/
BBC: Newsday, 28/02/2022: Ukraine invasion: Putin’s threats to Finland and Sweden are ‘nothing new’ https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p0brly84
Associated Press, 03/03/2022: Neutral Finland, Sweden warm to idea of NATO membership https://apnews.com/article/finland-sweden-nato-membership-34ef217e563ac9ea080c495ce6ffdb88
The Brussels Times, 15/03/2022: Finland: support for NATO membership reaches historic high https://www.brusselstimes.com/210752/finland-support-for-nato-membership-reaches-historic-high
The Local (Sweden), 24/03/2022: Six of ten Swedes back joining Nato if Finland does: poll https://www.thelocal.se/20220324/six-out-of-ten-swedes-would-back-nato-if-finland-joined-poll/
EUObserver, 11/04/2022: Russia warns against Finland and Sweden Nato bid https://euobserver.com/nordics/154713
BBC News, 11/04/2022: Ukraine War: Russia warns Sweden and Finland against Nato membership https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-61066503
YLE News, 13/04/2022: Government report: Finland and Sweden joining Nato would increase security in the Baltic Sea region https://yle.fi/news/3-12403898
Le Monder, 13/04/2022: In Sweden and Finland, the debate on NATO membership is accelerating https://www.lemonde.fr/en/international/article/2022/04/13/in-sweden-and-finland-the-debate-on-nato-membership-is-accelerating_5980420_4.html
Bloomberg, 21/04/2022: Sweden Speeds Up NATO Analysis to Keep Pace With Finland https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2022-04-21/sweden-plans-to-speed-up-nato-analysis-to-keep-pace-with-finland
Foreign Policy, 22/04/2022: ‘Thanks, Putin’: Finnish and Swedish Lawmakers Aim for NATO Membership https://foreignpolicy.com/2022/04/22/finland-sweden-nato-membership-russia-ukraine-war/
The Guardian, 25/04/2022: Sweden and Finland agree to submit Nato applications, say reports https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/apr/25/sweden-and-finland-agree-to-submit-nato-applications
Reuters, 25/04/2022: Finland, Sweden to begin NATO application in May, say local media reports https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/finland-sweden-begin-nato-application-may-say-local-media-reports-2022-04-25/
EurActiv, 27/04/2022: Croatian president says Finland, Sweden cannot join NATO before election law change in BiH https://www.euractiv.com/section/politics/short_news/croatian-president-says-finland-sweden-cannot-join-nato-before-election-law-change-in-bih/
The Irish Times, 27/04/2022: Finland prepared to join Nato without Sweden, says minister https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/finland-prepared-to-join-nato-without-sweden-says-minister-1.4863460
Reuters, 01/05/2022: Finland almost certainly to apply for NATO membership, says Swedish Foreign Minister https://www.reuters.com/world/europe/finland-almost-certainly-apply-nato-membership-says-swedish-foreign-minister-2022-05-01/
RTÉ News, 01/05/2022: Finland will 'quite surely' apply to join NATO - Sweden https://www.rte.ie/news/world/2022/0501/1295490-denmark-russia-airspace/
ERR News, 04/05/2022: Ambassador: Finland, Sweden joining NATO would create headaches for Russia https://news.err.ee/1608585898/ambassador-finland-sweden-joining-nato-would-create-headaches-for-russia
The Local (Sweden), 10/05/2022: Sweden and Finland to announce decision to join Nato within days https://www.thelocal.se/20220510/sweden-and-finland-to-announce-decision-to-join-nato-within-days/
Associated Press, 10/05/2022: Crucial NATO decisions expected in Finland, Sweden this week https://apnews.com/article/russia-ukraine-business-world-war-ii-stockholm-sweden-258926c3bad81d918d7475cf95bfd992
Euronews, 10/05/2022: To join or not to join? Sweden and Finland to reveal NATO decisions https://www.euronews.com/my-europe/2022/05/10/to-join-or-not-to-join-sweden-and-finland-to-reveal-nato-decisions
The Guardian, 12/05/2022: Kremlin threatens retaliation after Finland leaders say it must join Nato https://www.theguardian.com/world/2022/may/12/finland-apply-join-nato-without-delay-president-pm
France24, 12/05/2022: Finland’s leaders back joining NATO in policy shift triggered by Ukraine war https://www.france24.com/en/live-news/20220512-finland-s-leaders-back-nato-membership-in-major-policy-shift-triggered-by-ukraine-war
EUObserver, 12/05/2022: Finland moves to join Nato in historic step https://euobserver.com/ukraine/154926
The Irish Times, 12/05/2022: Sweden’s ruling party divided over moves towards Nato membership https://www.irishtimes.com/news/world/europe/sweden-s-ruling-party-divided-over-moves-towards-nato-membership-1.4876521
YLE News, 12/05/2022: Finnish leaders confirm support for Nato application https://yle.fi/news/3-12442140
Politico, 12/05/2022: ‘Historic’: Pentagon spokesperson hails Finland’s move toward NATO membership https://www.politico.com/news/2022/05/12/pentagon-finland-nato-00032038
RFI News, 12/05/2022: Finland wants to join NATO 'without delay' in major policy shift https://www.rfi.fr/en/international/20220512-finland-wants-to-join-nato-without-delay-in-major-policy-shift

Official
NATO: Newsroom, 24/01/2022: Press conference with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Finland, Pekka Haavisto and the Minister for Foreign Affairs of Sweden, Ann Linde https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/opinions_191039.htm
NATO: Newsroom, 12/04/2022: Allies practise air interoperability with Finland and Sweden https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_194758.htm
NATO: Newsroom, 29/04/2022: NATO maritime groups train with Finland and Sweden https://www.nato.int/cps/en/natohq/news_195001.htm
Finnish Government: Press Release, 12/05/2022: Joint statement by the President of the Republic and Prime Minister of Finland on Finland's NATO membership https://valtioneuvosto.fi/en/-//10616/joint-statement-by-the-president-of-the-republic-and-prime-minister-of-finland-on-finland-s-nato-membership

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