Traditionally non-aligned Finland and Sweden are seriously considering NATO membership. How will this process take place?
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has repeatedly stated that the organization is ready to accept these countries on an accelerated basis, since their armed forces fully comply with NATO standards.
The “Scandinavian Pivot” came two months after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, which permanently changed the balance of power on the continent. Both countries are considering, weighing all the pros and cons. It cannot be said that Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson are unequivocally positive about their countries’ accession to NATO. Ms Andersson recently stated at a press conference:
“We need to think hard about what is best for Sweden, our security and our peace in this new situation.”
Sanna Marin agrees with this position:
“Changing the security landscape requires an assessment of how we can best secure peace in Finland and in our region.”
The Kremlin represented by the press secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov declaredthat the intentions of Sweden and Finland to join NATO will not bring security to the European region. A few hours after Finland was warned not to join NATO, Russian heavy equipment was spotted on its way to the Finnish border. As the publication writes Daily MailRussia “is moving heavy military equipment, including missile systems, to the border with Finland after warning Finland not to join NATO.”
Medvedev, deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, wrote on his Telegram channel that “attempts to drag” Finns and Swedes into NATO were made even before the war in Ukraine. The former Russian president believes that the public opinion of Finland and Sweden on the NATO issue is “split roughly in half”, and warns:
How many countries are in NATO – thirty or thirty-two, for us as a whole is not so important. Two less, two more – with their importance and population, there is not much difference. Another thing is that if Sweden and Finland join NATO, the length of the land borders of the alliance with the Russian Federation will more than double. Naturally, these boundaries will have to be strengthened. Seriously strengthen the grouping of ground forces and air defense, deploy significant naval forces in the waters of the Gulf of Finland. In this case, we can no longer talk about any non-nuclear status of the Baltic.
Since its inception in 1949 North Atlantic Alliance was based on an “open door policy”, but there are strict criteria that candidate states must meet: