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Finland and Sweden could apply to join NATO as early as summer

Finland and Sweden could be on the verge of applying to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) military alliance as soon as June, largely in reaction to the Russian invasion of Ukraine in beginning of this year.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin is expected to make a decision on whether or not to seek NATO membership in the coming weeks, and Finnish MPs this week received a new 49-page report examining the possible impact Finland’s membership in the alliance. .

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said a decision would be made before a NATO summit to be held in June, but did not comment on details of the potential bid, while Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto said the Russian invasion had lasting effects on Finland’s security situation, Yle reports.

“The security situation in Europe and Finland is more serious and difficult to predict than at any time since the Cold War. It is estimated that the change will be long-lasting,” Haavisto said.

According to the Foreign Minister, following the new report, the Finnish parliament is expected to hold an in-depth debate on ATO membership and various committees are also expected to discuss the report.

Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen said that for the country to join NATO, there must be clear support from the country’s parliament, government, president, NATO member states and the general public. Finnish public, who, according to a recent poll, are now in favor of membership.

On Wednesday, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin held a press conference alongside Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and said a decision on NATO would come in “weeks not months”.

Andersson, who leads Sweden’s Social Democrats, also plans to submit a NATO bid by June, according to Swedish media. The Social Democrats have called an extraordinary meeting to be held on May 24 to discuss the issue, Swedish TV channel SVT reports.

The move comes after Anderson previously said in March that Sweden’s NATO membership could increase tensions, saying: “If Sweden chooses to send in an application for NATO membership in the situation this would further destabilize this region of Europe and increase tensions. ”

“I have been clear all this time that what is best for the security of Sweden and for the security of this part of Europe is for the government to have a long-term, coherent and predictable and that’s my belief,” she added. mentioned.

While the question of NATO membership is popular in Finland, less than half of Swedes are in favor of their country giving up its long-standing neutrality by joining the alliance, according to a poll published this week by the firm Novus.

The poll found that 45% of Swedes would like to join NATO, but 33% are totally opposed to the idea and a further 22% say they are undecided on the issue.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail at ctomlinson(at)


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