Friday, February 23, 2024

Sweden joins Finland to join NATO

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Since the end of the Second World War, Sweden and Finland have shared a common destiny in Europe. The two countries thus maintained a neutral posture throughout the Cold War, joining neither NATO nor the Warsaw Pact, and not even joining the European Economic Community despite a deep democratic culture and ties. close ties with Western European countries, and dramatic episodes like the assignat of Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme. After the collapse of the Soviet bloc, Stockholm and Helsinki jointly joined the European Union in 1995, but in the absence of a threat in the East, neither wished to join NATO, the displayed neutrality corresponding perfectly to the expectations of public opinion in both countries. From the 2010s, and with the rise in power of the Russian army, a fundamental movement began to emerge in the two Scandinavian states in favor of such membership, without gaining a majority in public opinion, and encountering certain hostility from part of the political class.

With Moscow's increasingly aggressive posture towards its neighbors, both Stockholm and Helsinki have moved closer to their Western partners, including in the military domain, without crossing the Rubicon, while gradually, both public opinions were increasingly favorable towards NATO membership. On the eve of the Russian attack in Ukraine, they were still divided on the subject, with half of the Swedes and Finns declaring themselves in favor of such membership, the other half being opposed to it. The outbreak of hostilities on February 24, however, had the effect of an electric shock in the minds of the two countries, and a clear majority of Swedes and Finns, over 60%, have since declared themselves in favor of a accession of their country to the Atlantic Alliance, and at the end of last week, the Finnish Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, publicly announced that she now intended to begin parliamentary consultations for her country to join NATO .

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Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (foreground) and her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin during the joint press conference this morning to announce the two Scandinavian countries' decision to join NATO

However, as in 1995, Finland wanted to initiate a common dynamic with its first partner and ally, Sweden, and this is the reason why the Finnish leader went to Stockholm this morning to meet her Swedish counterpart, Magdalena Andersson, in order to define a common position on this subject. At the end of this meeting, the two countries announced that they were committing to a common approach to joining NATO, and this within a short time frame, "within a few weeks" according to the Finnish Prime Minister, and " before the end of June” for his Swedish counterpart. Given the socio-economic and democratic indicators of the two countries, there is little doubt that this accession can be carried out quickly, a major imperative to prevent Russia from implementing retaliatory measures and excessive threats that could potentially prevent such a process.

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Fabrice Wolf
Fabrice Wolf
A former French naval aeronautics pilot, Fabrice is the editor and main author of the site. His areas of expertise are military aeronautics, defense economics, air and submarine warfare, and Akita inu.

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