Finland, Sweden veer closer to NATO in historic policy shift

Finland will make a decision about whether to apply to join the 30-member NATO alliance in the next few weeks, Prime Minister Sanna Marin told reporters in a joint news conference with her Swedish counterpart.

“There are different perspectives to apply [for] NATO membership or not to apply and we have to analyse these very carefully,” Marin told reporters in the Swedish capital Stockholm on Wednesday.

“But I think our process will be quite fast, it will happen in weeks.”

Marin said parliament would debate an official assessment of how Russia’s invasion of Ukraine led to a “change of our security environment” and evaluate making a historic shift in Finland’s defence posture.

“We need to be frank about consequences and risks, both long and short term,” Marin said.

However, she anticipated there was “no other way to have security guarantees than under NATO’s deterrence and common defence”, and a decision could come by late June.

Finland and Sweden, which share a border and a similar security environment, have deepened collaboration both among themselves and with NATO since Russia invaded Crimea in 2014.

Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said Moscow’s decision to invade Ukraine had been a watershed moment.

“There is a before and after 24 February, the security landscape has completely changed,” she told reporters. “Given the situation, we have to really think what is best for Sweden and our peace in this new situation.”

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