Finland will officially join NATO, the Western military alliance, tomorrow. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg has just announced this. Last week, Turkey was the last member state to approve Finland’s entry into the alliance, but the exact timing of the official entry was unknown.
“This is a historic week,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said today. “Tomorrow, we will welcome Finland as the 31st member.” And with that, it’s official: Finland will become a member of NATO, the political and military alliance of North American and European countries.
Last week, Turkey was the last member state to approve Finland’s membership. For a long time, Finland hoped to join the military alliance with Sweden. However, this proved impossible due to the rising tensions between Sweden and Turkey. Turkish President Erdogan is holding his ground for the time being. He stated several times in public that Sweden cannot count on Turkey’s support. Hungary is also against it.
And that’s a problem. To become a member of NATO, all member states must consent. Stockholm hopes to join before a major NATO summit in July in Lithuania’s Vilnius.
For Finland, membership is now completely done. A ceremony will occur tomorrow at NATO headquarters, where the Finnish flag will be hoisted in front of the building.
Although Sweden is not officially part of NATO, the country is strongly integrated within the military alliance. Furthermore, Sweden retains its role as the host country. The country participates in all meetings and has received security guarantees from the other member states. It would be inconceivable that the other countries would not react if Sweden were attacked.
Sweden and Finland long refused to apply for membership, not wanting to lose their status as neutral countries. However, the cards have been different since Russia invaded Ukraine. Finland shares a border of more than 1,300 kilometres with Russia. NATO membership means that Finland will receive support from the other members should Russia dare to invade the country.