Finland to decide on joining Nato in weeks not months, prime minister says

Sweden also reviewing security policy in wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine

Finland will decide on whether to apply to join the US-led Nato alliance in the next few weeks, the prime minister Sanna Marin said on Wednesday, underlining a shift in security perspectives since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

Finland and fellow Nordic state and neighbour Sweden are close partners with Nato but have shied away from joining the 30-member alliance, founded in 1949 to counter the Soviet Union during the Cold War.

Ms Marin told reporters in a joint news conference in Stockholm with her Swedish counterpart that the option to join Nato had to be carefully analysed but that everything had changed when Russian forces invaded Ukraine in late February.

“The difference between being a partner and being a member is very clear and will remain so. There is no other way to have security guarantees than under Nato’s deterrence and common defence as guaranteed by Nato’s article 5,” she said.


“I won’t give any kind of timetable when we will make our decisions, but I think it will happen quite fast – within weeks not within months,” said Ms Marin, whose country shares a 1,300km-long border with Russia to the east.

She said it was important to reach consensus in Finland, which fought Soviet invaders during the second World War and has been militarily non-aligned since then, and that political parties would have internal talks and in parliament in coming weeks.

A Finnish government white paper update of its foreign and security policy, published on Wednesday, said Russia’s invasion had profoundly changed the security situation, but made no recommendation regarding joining Nato.


Finland and Sweden, which is also reviewing its security policy with conclusions expected toward the end of May, both take part in Nato exercises and crisis management initiatives as well as exchange intelligence with the alliance.

Swedish prime minister Magdalena Andersson said there were pros and cons of being a member of Nato though the main advantage was the security of article 5, under which the alliance regards an attack on one member as an attack on all.

Sweden was a neutral state during the second World War and has not fought a war for over 200 years.

Finnish defence minister Atti Kaikkonen said Finland needed to prepare for possible changes along its Russia border, though the military situation there currently remained calm.

The Russian government said on Monday the possible accession of Sweden and Finland to Nato would not bring stability to Europe. Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov has said that if Finland and Sweden joined Nato, Russia would have to “rebalance the situation” with its own measures. – Reuters