Sweden and Finland agree to make Nato announcement next month, reports say

Sweden and Finland have agreed to both announce their intention to join Nato in the week beginning May 16th, newspapers in the two countries have reported.

Sweden and Finland agree to make Nato announcement next month, reports say
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson (left) and Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin at a European Council meeting in March. Photo: Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/ AFP

According to both Iltalehti and Expressen, two tabloid newspapers from Finland and Sweden respectively, Sweden’s government has asked for Finland to delay their announcement so that the two countries can announce their intention to join simultaneously, in the week when Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö is due to make a state visit to Stockholm. 

While Iltalehti, which first reported the claim, did not say where its information came from, Expressen said the timing of the announcement had been confirmed by “government sources”. 

If the stories are correct, the timing will be tight, with the Swedish government’s new assessment of the security only due to be published on May 13th, the Friday before the claimed week for the announcement. 

When Finland’s parliament debated the country’s security options last week, several leading MPs and ministers stressed the importance of taking the decision in step with Sweden, although they also emphasised that each of the two countries should be free to make their own decision. 

According to a story in the Aftonbladet newspaper, Sweden has been given assurances by the USA and Great Britain that if it is attacked during the period between applying to join Nato and becoming a member, they will come to the country’s defence. 

“The government has received information from both the USA and Great Britain on how protection and support would look during a coming application process,” a government source told the newspaper. 

According to the newspaper, the support would come in the form of increased military presence near to Sweden, military exercises, and “strong political support” from Nato countries. 

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Sweden to join Nato: ‘We are leaving one era and entering another”

Sweden on Monday officially announced it will apply for Nato membership as a deterrent against Russian aggression, entering a "new era" as it reverses two centuries of military non-alignment.

Sweden to join Nato: 'We are leaving one era and entering another''

In a joint press conference held with Ulf Kristersson, leader of the opposition Moderate Party, Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said joining the alliance would act as a deterrent against Russian aggression. 

“The government has decided to inform Nato that Sweden wants to become a member of the alliance,” Andersson told reporters a day after neighbouring Finland made a similar announcement.

“We are leaving one era and beginning another,” she said, adding that Sweden’s Nato ambassador would “shortly” inform Nato.

Ulf Kristersson, whose party has long supported membership of the alliance, said that he wanted to put party political differences aside to support the government in its decision.  

“There are many major issues where we think differently, but we are going to take a joint responsibility for the process of taking Sweden into Nato,” he said. 

Sweden and Finland have both expressed a desire to act in lockstep on Nato membership and submit their applications jointly.

“We expect it shouldn’t take more than a year” for the alliance’s 30 members to unanimously ratify Sweden’s membership application, Andersson said.

The announcement was expected after her Social Democratic party on Sunday backed membership, in a dramatic turnaround after having opposed the idea since the birth of the Western military alliance.

It came after a debate in parliament in which all parties apart from the Green Party and Left Party spoke in favour of Sweden joining the alliance.  

“It is now clear that there is a broad majority in Sweden’s parliament for Sweden joining Nato,” she said. 

After Sweden’s announcement, Denmark, Norway and Iceland published a joint statement in which they promised to Sweden “by all means necessary” if the country is attacked in the gap between application and admission to the alliance. 

“Should Finland or Sweden be victims of aggression on their territory before obtaining Nato membership, we will assist Finland and Sweden by all means necessary,” the three countries said. “We immediately initiate preparations in order to effectuate these security assurances.”

Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, said on Monday that Sweden and Finland joining Nato did not represent a direct threat to Russia’s interests, but he said that if Nato began to site equipment on their territories, Russia would have to respond. 

“Russia has no problems with these states (Finland, Sweden). There is no immediate threat to Russia,” he said at a meeting of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation, which groups Russia with Belarus, Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan.

“But the expansion of military infrastructure into this territory would certainly provoke our response,” he said.  

Sweden’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist is flying to Washington on Monday, where he will meet his counterpart Lloyd Austin.