Tuesday 5/17/22
NATO-RUSSIA TENSIONS

Finland should join NATO 'without delay,' leaders say

Finland will apply for membership of the military alliance, after decades of remaining formally neutral
HANDOUT - 06 April 2022, Belgium, Brussels: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) receives Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (L) and Swedeish Foreign Minister Ann Linde prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the meetings of the NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs. Photo: -/NATO/dpa - ATTENTION: editorial use only and only if the credit mentioned above is referenced in full.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) receives Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (L) and Swedeish Foreign Minister Ann Linde prior to a meeting on the sidelines of the meetings of a NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs in Brussels. Photo: NATO/dpa.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin on Thursday announced their support for Finland joining NATO "without delay."

There have been several indications that Finland, which shares a 1,300-kilometre-long border with Russia, would apply for membership of the Western military alliance in the light of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

"NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security," the statement said.

"As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance. Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay."

The leaders said that they hoped "the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days."

The support of Finland's head of state and head of government makes it highly likely that Finland will apply for membership of the military alliance, after decades of remaining formally neutral.

Public opinion shift

There has been a drastic shift in public opinion toward NATO membership since the war in Ukraine began.

In a recent survey, 76% of respondents in Finland were in favour of such a move. Several political parties have also signalled their backing.

Other Nordic countries Denmark, Norway and Iceland have been members of NATO since its founding in 1949.

Sweden is expected to announce a decision in the coming days.

Finland should join NATO 'without delay,' leaders say
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