SITREP – Will Finland and Sweden Join NATO
May 13, 2022
What has Happened:
- Key decision-makers in Finland and Sweden are expected to announce their positions on NATO membership later this week.
- Sweden and Finland signed a mutual defense treaty with the United Kingdom on Wednesday May 11th, which is likely a pre-cursor to applying for broader membership in NATO.
- Historically, Sweden has avoided military alliances and Finland declared neutrality after its defeat by the Soviet Union in World War II.
- However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine (and possible Russian ambitions beyond Ukraine) have changed the mindset of both nations’ leaders.
- Russia (which shares an 800-mile border with Finland) has warned of “military and political repercussions” if Finland and Sweden join NATO.
- Possible Russian responses include the movement of nuclear/hypersonic weapons closer to the border with Finland and cyber-attacks as well as economic and humanitarian measures (i.e., directing migration towards the Russia/Finland border).
- Both countries are already members of the EU and have participated in joint military exercises with NATO in the past, including in Afghanistan and the Balkans.
- Finland already meets NATO’s 2% of GDP defense spending requirement and Sweden is at 1.3%, but could reach 2% by 2028.
- If both countries move forward with the application next week, the process could still take several months.