Finland and Sweden both officially ended years of militaristic neutrality this week when they announced their intentions to join NATO.
The Finnish government announced its intention to join NATO on Monday. “This is a historic day. A new era is opening,” Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said to reporters at a joint press conference with Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin.
Hours later, Sweden’s government officially announced its own intent to join NATO, possibly opening the door to a joint application to NATO with Finland. The best thing for the security of Sweden and the Swedish people is to join NATO,” Andersson said.
“We believe Sweden needs the formal security guarantees that come with membership in NATO,” said Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson at her own press conference. “We believe Sweden needs the formal security guarantees that come with membership in NATO.”
The two nations are taking the historic step to join NATO now amid fears for their own security as Russia continues its invasion of Ukraine. While Sweden’s move to join the alliance will help stabilize security in the region in the midst of Russia’s attack on Ukraine, but it comes with some conditions.
The Social Democratic Party said on Sunday if Sweden’s application to join NATO were approved, the country would express “unilateral reservations against the deployment of nuclear weapons and permanent bases on Swedish territory.”
In order for the two countries to join NATO, their applications must be approved and their membership ratified by all 30 member countries. United States Secretary of State Antony Blinken said he is “very confident that we will reach consensus” on the membership bids of Sweden and Finland into NATO.
ARTICLE: LAURA SPIVAK
MANAGING EDITOR: CARSON CHOATE
PHOTO CREDITS: FOREIGN POLICY