Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin will meet with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz in Berlin today to discuss the prospect of Sweden and Finland joining NATO.
Sweden and Finland are both militarily non-aligned members of the EU, meaning that they have previously rejected NATO membership in favor of independent military policies. Prior to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, most of the public in both Nordic countries opposed NATO membership. However, recent polls show that a clear majority of Swedes and Finns now support joining the 30-member military alliance.
Stockholm and Helsinki are widely expected to give up their countries’ status of de facto neutrality in favor of NATO’s security umbrella, as non-alignment is no longer considered a secure alternative. They are likely to move swiftly, as Russia has made previous threats to retaliate against efforts towards NATO expansion. However, Moscow is highly unlikely to send in troops—as it did in Ukraine—since the two Nordic countries are already part of the EU, which would be duty-bound to assist them in the event of an attack. Instead, expect a further militarization along the Russian-Finnish border and the Baltic Sea, as well as other attempts of sabotage, including cyber-attacks.
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David is a Senior Analyst focusing on East Asia. He primarily writes on economic, political, and social issues and how they relate to the geopolitical environment.