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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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.

Related Links
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
Foreign Policy: Analysis, 05/01/2022: Finland and Sweden Are Done With Deference to Russia
Euro|topics, January 2022: Finland and Sweden: reinforcement for Nato?
Royal United Services Institute (RUSI): Commentary, 07/01/2022: In the 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”
Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW): Analyses, 04/01/2022: Finland: back to the NATO debate
Foreign Policy, 02/02/2022: Russia Is Driving Sweden and Finland Closer to NATO
The Conversation, 11/02/2022: Ukraine: the problem with copying Finland’s strict cold war neutrality
The Irish Times, 26/02/2022: Ireland and Finland: Similar countries with vastly different security approaches
The Atlantic, 09/03/2022: Putin's Strategic Error
The New Statesman, 22/03/2022: 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
Politico: Opinion, 13/04/2022: Sweden wins the NATO lottery
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace: Commentary, 14/04/2022: The Dilemma at the Heart of Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO Membership Bids
Deutsche Welle, 14/04/2022: Will Finland and Sweden join NATO?
RFE/RL, 14/04/2022: Finland And Sweden's Steady March Toward NATO
Atlantic Council: New Atlanticist, 15/04/2022: 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?
The Economist, 16/04/2022: Finland is hurtling towards NATO membership
Project Syndicate: Commentary, 21/04/2022: What NATO’s Northern Expansion Means
German Institute for International and Security Affairs (SWP): Point of View, 27/04/2022: 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?
Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI): ISPI Counterpoint, 28/04/2022: Should Finland and Sweden join NATO?
LRT News, 03/05/2022: 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
Foreign Policy: Interview, 07/05/2022: Finland’s Foreign Minister on Why Helsinki Is Moving Toward NATO Now
RFE/RL: Explainer, 09/05/2022: All You Need To Know As Finland And Sweden Inch Closer To NATO
Peace Research Institute Oslo (PRIO): Blog, 09/05/2022: Finland and Sweden’s 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
Politico: Opinion, 12/05/2022: If Finland and Sweden join NATO, it’s on Russia
Euronews, 12/05/2022: What are the next steps if Sweden and Finland ask to join NATO?
BBC News, 12/05/2022: Are Sweden and Finland going from neutral to Nato?
The Guardian, 12/05/2022: 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
Associated Press: Explainer, 12/05/2022: Why Finland, Sweden joining NATO will be big deal
Deutsche Welle, 12/05/2022: NATO: New challenges for the alliance as Finland and Sweden inch closer to membership?
The Conversation, 12/05/2022: Finland and Sweden’s desire to join Nato shows Putin has permanently redrawn the map of Europe
Euro|topics, May 2022: Finland wants to join Nato as soon as possible
CRS Report, February 2023: NATO: Finland and Sweden Seek Membership

ERR News, 05/01/2022: Experts: Finland's accession to NATO unlikely in near future
Reuters, 14/01/2022: Finland not negotiating about NATO membership, foreign minister says
Euronews, 15/01/2022: Finland not negotiating about NATO membership, foreign minister says
Helsinki Times, 18/01/2022: HS: Opposition to Nato membership drops to record low in Finland, 19/01/2022: Finland's PM says NATO membership is "very unlikely" on her watch
France24, 28/01/2022: 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
YLE News, 24/02/2022: Foreign Minister: Finland taking part in Nato virtual summit
The Local (Sweden), 24/02/2022: 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
Politico, 28/02/2022: Finnish lawmakers to discuss potential NATO membership
BBC: Newsday, 28/02/2022: Ukraine invasion: Putin’s threats to Finland and Sweden are ‘nothing new’
Associated Press, 03/03/2022: Neutral Finland, Sweden warm to idea of NATO membership
The Brussels Times, 15/03/2022: 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
EUObserver, 11/04/2022: Russia warns against Finland and Sweden Nato bid
BBC News, 11/04/2022: Ukraine War: Russia warns Sweden and Finland against Nato membership
YLE News, 13/04/2022: Government report: Finland and Sweden joining Nato would increase security in the Baltic Sea region
Le Monder, 13/04/2022: In Sweden and Finland, the debate on NATO membership is accelerating
Bloomberg, 21/04/2022: Sweden Speeds Up NATO Analysis to Keep Pace With Finland
Foreign Policy, 22/04/2022: ‘Thanks, Putin’: Finnish and Swedish Lawmakers Aim for NATO Membership
The Guardian, 25/04/2022: Sweden and Finland agree to submit Nato applications, say reports
Reuters, 25/04/2022: Finland, Sweden to begin NATO application in May, say local media reports
EurActiv, 27/04/2022: 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
Reuters, 01/05/2022: Finland almost certainly to apply for NATO membership, says Swedish Foreign Minister
RTÉ News, 01/05/2022: Finland will 'quite surely' apply to join NATO - Sweden
ERR News, 04/05/2022: 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
Associated Press, 10/05/2022: Crucial NATO decisions expected in Finland, Sweden this week
Euronews, 10/05/2022: 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
France24, 12/05/2022: Finland’s leaders back joining NATO in policy shift triggered by Ukraine war
EUObserver, 12/05/2022: Finland moves to join Nato in historic step
The Irish Times, 12/05/2022: Sweden’s ruling party divided over moves towards Nato membership
YLE News, 12/05/2022: Finnish leaders confirm support for Nato application
Politico, 12/05/2022: ‘Historic’: Pentagon spokesperson hails Finland’s move toward NATO membership
RFI News, 12/05/2022: Finland wants to join NATO 'without delay' in major policy shift

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
NATO: Newsroom, 12/04/2022: Allies practise air interoperability with Finland and Sweden
NATO: Newsroom, 29/04/2022: NATO maritime groups train with Finland and Sweden
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

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