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Sweden and Finland: Secret about joining NATO

Sweden and Finland: Secret about joining NATO

Status: 04/28/2022 10:08 AM

It has been a topic in all the news programs in Sweden and Finland for several days: Joining NATO – yes or no? And if so, when and how will it happen? The rumor mill is rippling.

By Sofie Donges, ARD Studio Stockholm

Not much is known about the possibility of Sweden and Finland joining NATO – neither about possible decisions already taken by governments nor about the exact timeline, according to Swedish journalist Mats Knutson at SVT: “There is a lot of secrecy surrounding the NATO operation and various meetings are taking place that is not exactly known.” So there are a number of leaks and only indirect information.”

The rumor mill is swirling

The rumor mill is swaying: a Swedish and Finnish newspaper are sure that both countries will announce a joint decision – in the week of May 16.

There are two things in favor of this: Sweden has announced that it will publish a Security Policy Report on May 13 that lists the pros and cons of NATO membership. The Swedes originally wanted to take their time until the end of May to make this assessment.

The second indicator is a state visit by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö to Stockholm starting May 17. This will be the perfect stage for big news that affects both countries.

Finnish Foreign Minister: There is no specific timetable

However, if you ask Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto, there is still no specific timetable. Operations must first be completed in both countries.

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Politicians in Finland and Sweden are putting on the brakes and keeping a low profile. Finland’s Social Democratic Party, the party of Prime Minister Sanna Marin, wants to announce its decision on May 14.

Monitor: The issue is clear

But to some observers, it is clear, and it has yet to be reported. Finland will join and Sweden will probably join, and Robert Dallshaw of the Swedish Military Research Agency is sure of that. “In Sweden, the process was more dizzy and a little slower. Sweden was not as mentally prepared as Finland. But now it is clear that the leadership of the ruling Social Democratic Party has chosen that and is now trying to engage the whole party.”

People in Sweden are not convinced of that

And the Swedes themselves are not yet as convinced as the Finns are. Not so long ago, in Sweden, just over half of the population said in a survey: Yes, we want membership.

In Finland it was more than 60 per cent a few weeks ago. There is fear of Russia in both countries, and polls show that too. The Swedes and Finns are also concerned about the period from a possible decision in favor of NATO to membership.

There must be security guarantees

Security experts anticipate Russian provocations, such as cyber attacks, for example. Presumably, there are already security guarantees for both countries, according to journalist Knutson from SVT. “Obviously, if Sweden and Finland wanted to become members, I would be very surprised if the United States did not guarantee military protection. For the United States, it is about credibility, as well as for NATO, which has to protect two countries in this uncertain continent.”

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Soon there will be security in at least one question: NATO membership – yes or no? It’s supposed to be ready in mid-May.