Finland and Sweden have officially been invited to join NATO after Turkey drops veto
After weeks of pushback, Turkey has finally lifted its veto, allowing Finland and Sweden to continue the path to NATO membership
Sweden and Finland were formally invited to join NATO on Wednesday, after weeks of pushback from Turkey concerning their membership, according to CNN.
The news: During a NATO summit in Madrid, officials of the military alliance extended a formal invite to Sweden and Finland to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.
- “Today we have decided to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of NATO, and agreed to sign Accession Protocols,” NATO officials said in a declaration, per Fox News. “The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure.”
- This news comes just one day after Turkey dropped its veto against the countries joining the alliance, The New York Times reported.
- Turkish leaders previously opposed the new alliances and accused the countries of terrorist involvement, according to the Deseret News.
Why it matters: This membership ends the Scandinavian countries’ decadeslong policies of neutrality in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- The countries have both been neutral from any military alliances in the past. However, opinions on NATO from officials and the general public changed after Russia invaded Ukraine earlier this year, according to the Deseret News.
- Finland shares a border with Russia. Finnish leaders believe that joining NATO is their best bet in protection against the Kremlin, considering Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
- This new alliance, per NATO policy, means that an attack on either Sweden or Finland is an attack on all NATO countries.
What’s next? According to CNN, Sweden and Finland are expected to become NATO members quickly.
- This invitation starts a seven-step accession process. During this process, the new countries will formally accept their obligations of membership, and then go through a ratification process.
- Previous Deseret News reporting says that the United States and the United Kingdom have promised the new NATO countries de-facto membership during their onboarding process.
- This means Sweden and Finland will be protected by U.S. and U.K. military forces during the ratification process, if needed. This is valuable, given Russian President Vladimir Putin has expressed disdain for the new Scandinavian alliances and has blamed the expansion of NATO for the war in Ukraine.