by Ethan Percival
Following the Russian Invasion of Ukraine in 2022, the historically neutral, Nordic countries of Sweden and Finland decided to request NATO memberships in a joint application on May 18, 2022.
For some Context, NATO, short for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an international military alliance created in the aftermath of the Second World War to counter the Soviet Union’s expansionism. The organization’s primary purpose is to protect and safeguard the freedom and security of all its allied nations.
On June 5th, the accession protocols for both nations concluded and were sent to be ratified by all NATO countries. It’s now been 9 months since the appeal, and the accession of both Finland and Sweden seemed to become less and less likely. Mainly because of Hungary and Turkey’s reluctance to confirm their requests. Unfortunately, Sweden’s bid to join NATO, while still likely, may take longer to confirm due to tensions between it and Turkey after a Quran Burning protest in Sweden.
On the 27th of March, the parliament of Hungary voted to confirm Finland’s NATO bid, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan previously stated the Turkish Government would begin the ratification process of Finland’s accession to NATO. And finally, following months of foot-dragging, the Turkish Grand National Assembly voted to confirm Finland’s bid to NATO making Finland the 31st member of NATO.
In a ceremony outside NATO headquarters in Brussels, the Finnish colors were raised for the first time, beside their fellow NATO members of France and Estonia. NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenburg, in his speech on Finland’s introduction into the alliance stated, “I am deeply proud to welcome Finland as a full-fledged member of our Alliance and I look forward to also welcoming Sweden as soon as possible… Joining NATO is good for Finland, it is good for Nordic security and it is good for NATO as a whole.” And in a show of support to their Swedish ally’s bid to join NATO, as soon as Finland was officially a member of NATO, the Finnish Foreign Affairs Minister Pekka Haavisto handed in Finland’s Ratification of Sweden’s application to NATO.
The introduction of Finland into the alliance adds over 830 miles to the NATO-Russian border, which strengthens both Finland’s national security and the security of Northern Europe in the face of Russian aggression.