Sweden and Finland: secrecy about NATO accession

Status: 04/28/2022 10:08 a.m

It has been a topic in all news programs in Sweden and Finland for days: NATO accession – yes or no? And if so, when and how will it happen? The rumor mill is churning.

By Sofie Donges, ARD Studio Stockholm

Not much is known about a possible NATO accession of Sweden and Finland – neither about possible decisions already made by the governments nor about an exact timetable, according to the Swedish journalist Mats Knutson at SVT: “There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the NATO process. Various meetings are taking place, which are not exactly known, so there are a number of leaks and only indirect information.”

The rumor mill is churning

The rumor mill is churning: A Swedish and a Finnish newspaper are certain that both countries will jointly announce a decision – in the week starting May 16th.

Two things speak in favor of this: Sweden announced that it would publish a security policy report on May 13 listing the pros and cons of NATO membership. The Swedes originally wanted to take their time until the end of May for this assessment.

The second indicator is a state visit by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to Stockholm starting May 17. That would be the perfect stage for big news affecting both countries.

Finnish Foreign Minister: No concrete timetable

However, if you ask Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, there is still no concrete timetable. The processes would first have to be completed in both countries.

Politicians in Finland and Sweden are stepping on the brakes and keeping a low profile. The Finnish Social Democrats, the party of Prime Minister Sanna Marin, want to announce their decision on May 14th.

Observer: Matter is clear

For some observers, however, the matter is clear, just not yet communicated. Finland will join and Sweden will most likely join, Robert Dalsjö of the Swedish Military Research Agency is also sure of that. “In Sweden, the process was a bit more dizzying and slower. Sweden wasn’t as mentally prepared as Finland. But it’s now obvious that the ruling Social Democrat leadership has opted for it and is now trying to get the whole party on board. “

People in Sweden not so convinced

And the Swedes themselves are not yet as convinced as the people in Finland. Not long ago, in Sweden, just over half of the population said in a survey: Yes, we want membership.

In Finland it was more than 60 percent a few weeks ago. There is fear of Russia in both countries, polls show that too. The Swedes and Finns are also concerned about the period from a possible decision in favor of NATO to membership.

There should be security guarantees

Security experts expect Russian provocations, such as cyber attacks, for example. Supposedly there are already security guarantees for both countries, according to journalist Knutson from SVT. “It is clear that if Sweden and Finland want to become members, I would be very surprised if the USA had not guaranteed military protection. For the USA it is about credibility, also for NATO, which has to protect two countries in this uncertain situation Situation.”

There will soon be security in at least one question: NATO membership – yes or no? It is supposed to be ready in mid-May.

Lots of rumors about Sweden, Finland and NATO

Sofie Donges, ARD Stockholm, April 27, 2022 8:22 a.m

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