Sweden and Finland: Rapid NATO accession likely

Status: 04/28/2022 1:39 p.m

Sweden’s and Finland’s applications for NATO membership are not yet official – but the alliance has already promised approval. The accession of the countries could also have implications for EU security policy.

By Helga Schmidt, ARD Studio Brussels

The turning point in security policy is also approaching in Scandinavia. For Sweden and Finland, freedom of alliance and military independence have been pillars of their foreign policy for decades – now joining NATO has become so likely that its Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has already promised in Brussels that the alliance will welcome both countries with open arms if they decide to submit the application.

Finland and Sweden have been close NATO partners for a long time, but have always maintained their independence – a distance that has narrowed since the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

You know each other, you appreciate each other

“We have been working with Finland and Sweden for many years,” explains NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg, reporting on the high military level of both armies. You know that from joint exercises and joint international military operations.

The NATO headquarters in Brussels expect that the official membership applications from Helsinki and Stockholm could arrive in a few weeks. All 30 member countries must then agree. So far, however, no member has spoken out against Finland and Sweden, on the contrary: the large members have already offensively signaled their willingness to join, including the USA, France and Germany.

Joining NATO would have an impact on the EU

With accession, two more EU member states would join NATO. That would have consequences for the EU’s cooperation with the defense alliance, said Roberta Metsola, President of the European Parliament. She received Stoltenberg on Thursday. It was the first time that the head of NATO had an official exchange with the leaders of the political parties in the European Parliament.

“We are now talking about the alliance – and about common values ​​and common goals that we, the EU and NATO, share. And we can also talk about even more intensive cooperation and more common security,” said Metsola.

More engagement of the EU states in NATO?

It is now accepted that the Europeans must do more to ensure the security of the Union. Russia’s war against Ukraine has given impetus to those who want Europe’s strategic and military build-up to be firmly anchored within NATO – and not alongside the alliance.

Rapid NATO accession by Sweden and Finland increasingly likely

Helga Schmidt, ARD Brussels, April 28, 2022 12:54 p.m

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