25th May 2022

Finland builds momentum toward Nato bid

  • Some 76 percent of Finns were in favour of joining Nato in a poll this week by Finnish broadcaster YLE (Photo: Søren Sigfusson/
Listen to article

Finnish MPs have got the ball rolling on a week that's expected to culminate in a tectonic shift in Nordic security — Finland and Sweden's decision to apply for Nato membership.

All-but-one of the 17 members of the Finnish parliament's defence committee recommended the move in a decision on Tuesday (10 May), citing the threat of Russian aggression.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Become an expert on Europe

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 years of archives. 14-day free trial.

... or subscribe as a group

"Membership in Nato is the best solution for Finland's security", Petteri Orpo, the committee chairman and an opposition party leader, told Finnish media.

"It strengthens Finland's national defence capability with the support of the union's significant military resources," he said.

The Swedish defence minister also said Nordic countries would be safer inside Nato the same day.

If Sweden and Finland joined Nato "there will be the effect that we use each others' strengths and advantages and fully complement each other and also carry out operational planning," Sweden's Peter Hultqvist told Swedish Radio.

"If so, the effect will be that we become stronger together. This is something that can happen if we choose to join Nato," he added.

The rising drumbeat of political endorsements comes ahead of Finnish president Sauli Niinisto's plan to speak on the Nato question on Thursday.

Sweden's ruling Social Democrats party is to vote on Sunday on the same issue, paving the way for a follow-up Swedish announcement.

If they go ahead, Nato states can quickly agree to take them in because they meet Western standards.

But national ratification by existing Nato members could drag out for up to a year and the Nordic pair would not be covered by Nato's Article Five mutual-defence clause, formally speaking, until the day they joined.

In any case, Finland's Niinisto has formidable backing in parliament if he decides to go ahead — 134 out of 200 MPs in the Finnish parliament would support a Nato application, according to a look at their public statements by Finnish newspaper Helsingen Sannomat.

And the Finnish general public feels the same way after two months of horrific Russian warfare against Ukraine.

Some 76 percent of Finns were in favour of joining Nato in a poll by Finnish broadcaster YLE out on Monday.

That was up from 63 percent in March and 53 percent in February, when Russia attacked Ukraine.

"The train has not only left the station, but we are now on a TGV towards Nato HQ in Brussels," Alexander Stubb, the former Finnish foreign minister, tweeted.

More than 51 percent of Swedes also supported joining Nato in a poll in April.

But despite the smaller majority compared to Finland, a Finnish decision to go ahead would likely spur backing in Sweden, given the historical security alliance between the Russia-facing European states.

Russia warns against Finland and Sweden Nato bid

Finland is expected to kick off a debate on the country's potential Nato membership. But Russia has clearly voiced opposition towards any potential enlargement of the western military alliance.

Finland moves to join Nato in historic step

Finnish public support for joining Nato has risen to record figures since Russia's aggression against Ukraine. Finland's historic move puts pressure on Sweden to also move towards joining the military alliance.


Nordic parliaments agree mutual defence on cyberattacks

A cyberattack against one of the Nordic parliaments will be seen as an attack on them all, MPs at the annual council of Denmark, Finland, Iceland, Norway, Sweden, the Faroe Islands, Greenland and Åland agreed this week.

Supported by

News in Brief

  1. Dutch tax authorities to admit to institutional racism
  2. Rutte calls for EU pension and labour reforms
  3. France 'convinced' Ukraine will join EU
  4. Von der Leyen: Russia hoarding food as 'blackmail'
  5. Legal action launched against KLM over 'greenwashing'
  6. Orbán refuses to discuss Russia oil embargo at EU summit
  7. Turkey's Erdogan snubs Greek PM
  8. ECB: Crypto may pose a risk to financial stability

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic delegation visits Nordic Bridges in Canada
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersClear to proceed - green shipping corridors in the Nordic Region
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers agree on international climate commitments
  4. UNESDA - SOFT DRINKS EUROPEEfficient waste collection schemes, closed-loop recycling and access to recycled content are crucial to transition to a circular economy in Europe
  5. UiPathNo digital future for the EU without Intelligent Automation? Online briefing Link

Latest News

  1. EU parliament prevaricates on barring Russian lobbyists
  2. Ukraine lawyer enlists EU watchdog against Russian oil
  3. Right of Reply: Hungarian government
  4. When Reagan met Gorbachev — a history lesson for Putin
  5. Orbán oil veto to deface EU summit on Ukraine
  6. France aims for EU minimum-tax deal in June
  7. 'No progress in years' in Libya, says UN migration body
  8. Toxic pesticide residue in EU fruit up 53% in a decade

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us