29th Jun 2022


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.


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.

The euro — who's next?

Bulgaria's target date for joining the eurozone, 1 January 2024, seems elusive. The collapse of Kiril Petkov's government, likely fresh elections, with populists trying to score cheap points against the 'diktat of the eurocrats', might well delay accession.


One rubicon after another

We realise that we are living in one of those key moments in history, with events unfolding exactly the way Swiss art historian Jacob Burckhardt describes them: a sudden crisis, rushing everything into overdrive.


China's support for Russia challenges Europe's Peace Order

China's soft support to Russia is deeply troubling for Europe. Here is the EU's biggest trading partner signalling that it is on the side of Russia, its aggression, and its challenge to the post-war international order.

Sturgeon's 2023 'referendum' gamble for Scotland

The independence campaign launch featured a new Scottish government report, comparing the UK's economic and social record with those of other European states — and arguing, unsurprisingly, that Scotland should be independent as a result.

News in Brief

  1. New president for European Committee of the Regions
  2. Gas flows from Spain to Morocco, after Western Sahara row
  3. BioNTech, Pfizer test 'universal' coronavirus vaccine
  4. UK sanctions second-richest Russian businessman
  5. Hungary permits emergency supervision of energy firms
  6. Bulgaria expels 70 alleged Russian spies
  7. EU Commission told to improve CAP data analytics
  8. Scotland pushes for second independence vote in 2023

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEmerging journalists from the Nordics and Canada report the facts of the climate crisis
  2. Council of the EUEU: new rules on corporate sustainability reporting
  3. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic ministers for culture: Protect Ukraine’s cultural heritage!
  4. Reuters InstituteDigital News Report 2022
  5. EFBWW – EFBH – FETBBHow price increases affect construction workers
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Nordic think tank examines influence of tech giants

Latest News

  1. Nato expands and reinforces on Russian flank
  2. EU Commission says it cannot find messages with Pfizer CEO
  3. EU ministers sign off on climate laws amid German infighting
  4. EU presidency still looking for asylum relocation pledges
  5. Finland and Sweden to join Nato, as Erdoğan drops veto
  6. The euro — who's next?
  7. One rubicon after another
  8. Green crime-fighting boss urgently required, key MEP says

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us