Friday

9th Dec 2022

Opinion

Sweden and Finland Nato decision is right for Baltic

  • Nato HQ on the outskirts of Brussels. Sweden and Finland joining Nato would mean eight out of nine Baltic Sea countries being members of both Nato and the EU, with only Russia outside both organisations (Photo: Wikimedia)
Listen to article

The Russian invasion of Ukraine has created the biggest security-related crisis in Europe since the Second World War and the role of Nato in our common security has become more important than ever.

We welcome the decision by Finland to quickly apply for membership in Nato and hope Sweden will make the same decision this week. It would increase stability in the Baltic Sea Region.

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

Russia has attempted to prevent Sweden and Finland from making their own political decisions by means of threats and violations of sovereignty.

It would be a huge mistake not to use the fast lane for Swedish and Finnish membership of Nato, a mistake that plays straight into the hands of Vladimir Putin. Allowing the Russian narrative of 'destabilisation' and 'sphere of interest' to lead us away from Nato membership is to buckle under Putin's propaganda.

As countries bordering an ever-growing authoritarian Russia and an ever more unstable president, we take the threat towards the Baltic states seriously.

Putin has repeatedly been talking about creating a new Russian empire. This would be a serious threat to Europe, and in particular to the Baltic Sea region.

The Baltic Sea is an important strategic region for our countries. We have a long and proud history of cooperation, trade and exchanges across the sea.

Today, we cooperate on economic development, environmental protection, energy, sustainability, and health. The cooperation enriches us. It must be defended.

Sweden and Finland already enjoy close cooperation with Nato and bilateral defence cooperation with Nato countries. However, the collective defence guarantee only applies to its members.

After escaping the iron grip of the Soviet Union, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania freely chose the EU and transatlantic cooperation. Membership of Nato and the collective guarantee from like-minded countries is the assurance of their continued freedom.

The same guarantee must also apply for Sweden and Finland. We can never compromise on the defence of our countries, our region and our democratic societies.

When considering the current situation, it is essential that the defence and security cooperation in the Baltic regions are extended and strengthened. The best option is to do so within Nato.

Nato defence capacity in the Baltic Sea region is strengthened with Swedish and Finnish membership. The experience and knowledge of Russia among the Baltic states and the capacity of the Swedish and Finnish military increase the stability of our region.

In addition, it would mean eight out of nine Baltic Sea countries being members of both Nato and the EU, with only Russia outside both organisations. It sends a very clear signal to Putin: we are united against his aggressions and illegal invasions.

The Russian aggressions are best countered by the Nordic and Baltic countries further increasing joint cooperation and making the security of the Baltic Sea a European and transatlantic interest. There is no space for naivety here. Russia remains a concrete threat to our region.

Our geographical location to Russia and the importance of the Baltic Sea for our countries require us to relate to a new reality, the post-24 February 2022-era. We have a common interest to secure peace in the Baltic Sea.

It is evident that the defence of the Baltic Sea Region includes Swedish and Finnish membership of Nato. We eagerly await the Swedish decision.

Author bio

All the authors are European People's Party MEPs from the Nordic and Baltic region. Tomas Tobéis head of delegation EPP-Sweden, Sirpa Pietikäinen is head of delegation EPP-Finland, Pernille Weiss is head of delegation EPP-Denmark, Riho Terras is head of delegation EPP-Estonia, Sandra Kalniete is head of delegation EPP-Lativa, Andrius Kubilius is head of delegation EPP-Lithuania.

Disclaimer

The views expressed in this opinion piece are the author's, not those of EUobserver.

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.

The pros, and cons, of Finland joining Nato

Two citizens' initiatives were presented to the parliament in Helsinki this week, one demanding Nato membership and one demanding a referendum on Nato membership. Both gathered the needed 50,000 signatures in a matter of days.

No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU

The European Commission has asked the member states' leaders assembling in Brussels next week for the customary end-of-year European Council to approve EU candidate status for Bosnia and Herzegovina. Doing so would be a mistake.

The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war

From the outset, arms manufacturers eyed this war as a profitable business opportunity. Structural changes took place across the EU, not only to fast-track arms to Ukraine, but also to make more public finance available to the highly-lucrative arms industry.

The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war

From the outset, arms manufacturers eyed this war as a profitable business opportunity. Structural changes took place across the EU, not only to fast-track arms to Ukraine, but also to make more public finance available to the highly-lucrative arms industry.

Serbia now has no choice but to join EU sanctions on Russia

Vladimir Putin himself is somewhat suspicious of Serbia's leader, as are most who deal with the opaque Aleksandar Vucic. The Russian president has preferred to keep his Serbian counterpart compliant, via a tight rein of annually-reviewed gas pricing.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersLarge Nordic youth delegation at COP15 biodiversity summit in Montreal
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersCOP27: Food systems transformation for climate action
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersThe Nordic Region and the African Union urge the COP27 to talk about gender equality
  4. International Sustainable Finance CentreJoin CEE Sustainable Finance Summit, 15 – 19 May 2023, high-level event for finance & business
  5. Friedrich Naumann Foundation European DialogueGender x Geopolitics: Shaping an Inclusive Foreign Security Policy for Europe
  6. Obama FoundationThe Obama Foundation Opens Applications for its Leaders Program in Europe

Latest News

  1. EU lets Croatia into Schengen, keeps Bulgaria and Romania out
  2. Energy crisis costs thousands of EU jobs, but industrial output stable
  3. Illegal pushbacks happening daily in Croatia, says NGO
  4. No, Bosnia and Herzegovina is not ready for the EU
  5. EU takes legal action against China over Lithuania
  6. EU Commission shoring up children's rights of same-sex parents
  7. The military-industrial complex cashing-in on the Ukraine war
  8. EU delays Hungary funds decision, as Budapest vetoes Ukraine aid

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBA lot more needs to be done to better protect construction workers from asbestos
  2. European Committee of the RegionsRe-Watch EURegions Week 2022
  3. UNESDA - Soft Drinks EuropeCall for EU action – SMEs in the beverage industry call for fairer access to recycled material
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic prime ministers: “We will deepen co-operation on defence”
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBConstruction workers can check wages and working conditions in 36 countries
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic and Canadian ministers join forces to combat harmful content online

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us