Finland and Sweden have officially announced their intentions to join NATO, according to the Associated Press. Here’s what we know.

What’s new?

Confirmed: Sweden and Finland intend to join NATO. The majority of Sweden’s government expressed support on Monday of joining NATO. The Finnish Parliament is expected to make the same decision in the next few days, though it’s considered a formality, NPR reported.

  • The countries will apply on the same day, which could be either Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday, said Sweden’s Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson, according to CNN.

NATO membership qualifications: Sweden and Finland meet NATO’s membership qualifications, which include: “having a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; treating minority populations fairly; committing to resolve conflicts peacefully; the ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and committing to democratic civil-military relations and institutions,” CNN reported.

Not all NATO countries approve of the new alliance: A physical application is not necessarily needed to join the alliance. Once a country announces that they would like to join NATO, the 30 countries already in the alliance must come to an agreement to allow the new countries to join, according to CNN.

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  • Most countries are in favor of Sweden and Finland joining NATO, with the exception of Turkey.
  • Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has accused Sweden of hosting terrorist organizations, and said he will not approve of the country’s bid. “They are coming to Turkey on Monday. Are they coming to convince us? Excuse me but they should not tire themselves,” said Erdogan, according to Reuters.

The bigger picture

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Here’s what we know about the potential new alliances, according to previous Deseret News reporting:

End to neutrality: The Scandinavian nations have had a history of military neutrality, but joining NATO will put an end to this.

  • Finland shares a border with Russia. Since Russia invaded Ukraine, public support for joining NATO has increased within the country.

Finland: Finnish leaders state that joining NATO will increase security in the country, due to threats of potential retaliation from Russia.

  • “Russia sees the expansion of the alliance as a threat to Russia’s national security. Russian President Vladimir Putin blames the West and the expansion of NATO for the cause of the war in Ukraine,” according to previous Deseret News reporting.

Protection: The United States and the United Kingdom have said that they will offer increased protection to the Scandinavian nations during their process of joining NATO.

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