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Finnish PM and President call for Nato membership ‘without delay’

Finland’s president Sauli Niinistö and prime minister Sanna Marin have said ‘yes’ to a Finnish Nato application, kickstarting the process through which Finland and most likely Sweden will join the alliance.

Finnish PM and President call for Nato membership 'without delay'
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö at a joint meeting on February 24th. Photo: Markku Ulander/ Lehtikuva/AFP

In a joint press statement, Niinistö and Marin said that Nato membership “would strengthen Finland’s security” and that Finland’s membership would “strengthen the entire defence alliance”.

“Finland must apply for Nato membership without delay,” they continued. 

“We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

Although Finland’s Nato decision does not come as a surprise, it will influence the likelihood of Sweden deciding to submit an application to the alliance, Sweden’s foreign minister Ann Linde said to SVT News.

“Now the president and the prime minister have made a clear statement,” she said. “Throughout the entire process, we have been in close cooperation with Finland on all levels. Finland’s statement affects our analysis, we take account for that in the analysis we will present in our report tomorrow.”

On Friday May 13th, a governmentally-appointed group consisting of MPs from all parties will present a report assessing possible Nato membership from a security perspective to parliament. The report is not expected to state whether Sweden should join the alliance or not.

The Social Democrats will make an official statement on whether to join the alliance on Sunday, and an extra parliamentary meeting on Nato is scheduled for Monday.

Linde told SVT that she has a clear impression of what Sweden’s message on Nato membership will be, but she does not want to circumvent the official process.

Sweden’s defence minister Peter Hultqvist told SVT that he “had expected this”, echoing Linde in saying that Finland’s statement will affect Sweden’s decision on whether or not to join Nato.

“We will make a Swedish decision based on Swedish analysis and Swedish conditions, but it is obvious that a Finnish statement of this kind is something that we must also include in our overall analysis and our assessment of how we should proceed,” he told SVT.

Denmark’s prime minister Mette Frederiksen welcomed the message, saying on Twitter that Denmark will welcome Finland to the alliance and do “everything possible” to ensure a swift application process after Finland’s formal application.

 

Estonian prime minister Kaja Kallas also welcomed the announcement on Twitter as “history being made by our northern neighbours”, adding that Estonia “support a rapid accession process” and will make “necessary steps quickly”.

Sweden will send an application to join the Nato alliance on Monday, tabloid Expressen reports, stating that the information comes from sources close to the newspaper.

According to the newspaper, Magdalena Andersson will call a governmental meeting where the decision whether to join Nato or not will be made. Social Democrat leadership have stated that the question is still up for debate, but it is expected that the government will announce their intention to apply to join Nato.

Directly after this meeting, Expressen reports, Sweden will submit their application to join Nato.

On Tuesday May 17th, Niinistö will be in Sweden for a two-day state visit, which will include a “bilateral consultation” with Andersson.

Member comments

  1. As an Italian citizen who is moving over to Stockholm soon, I sincerely HOPE that Sweden will keep its secular tradition of neutrality, and stay away from the present madness of Russo-phobia, and crazy, mindless run towards a third world war! The last thing that Sweden needs is to join a military, aggressive alliance, which is responsible for the last 50 years string of unjust and unlawful aggressions and wars against countries like Iraq, Siria, Lybia, Afghanistan, with unsound pretexts, that have resulted in the loss of HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS of lives, and now is largely responsible, with its own “barking at the doorstep of Russia”, just to use the very words of Pope Francis, of the war between Russia and Ukraine.

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NATO

Sweden’s Green Party demands nuclear weapons ban

Sweden’s Green Party has called on the parliament to bring in a law outlawing nuclear weapons from Sweden’s territory in both peace and wartime. 

Sweden’s Green Party demands nuclear weapons ban

“We need to keep working towards nuclear disarmament,” the party’s joint leader, Märta Stenevi, said. 

The ban would cover all use of nuclear weapons on Swedish territory, even on visiting ships and when allies use Swedish waters or airspace. 

“We want the parliament to state its position on this demand,” Stenevi said. 

It is not enough, she said to state, as Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson said she would, that Sweden does not want nuclear weapons or Nato bases on its territory, a similar situation as Denmark and Norway have had

“When you look at Denmark and Norway, those exceptions are verbal agreements,” Stenevi said.  

If Nato were to require member states to accept nuclear weapons at a later date, national law would be required for Sweden to be able to opt out, Stenevi said.

“That legislation would trump Nato’s statutes”.

Stenevi highlighted the fact that similar legislation already exists in Finland and has done for some time.

The Greens also want Sweden to remain outside Nato’s special committee for nuclear weapons.

“We think Sweden should continue to work towards nuclear disarmament,” she said. “To then sit and take part in a group pointing nuclear weapons towards specific targets is closer to legitimising their use”.

The Green Party also want Sweden to promote the “no first use” principle within Nato, which would mean that nuclear weapons can never be used unless a nuclear power had already been attacked with nuclear weapons first.

Finally, they write in their motion that they want Sweden to promote the respect for democratic values within Nato, as well as the introduction of a “democracy requirement” within the alliance.

“You just need to look at the last 24 hours to see clear evidence of Turkey making requirements and expecting Sweden to adapt their foreign policy to what fits the Turkish regime and not what Sweden decide is independently correct and right.” Stenevi said.

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