The Nordic countries Finland and Sweden have been full members of the European Union (EU) since 1995. They are also members of the Northern Group, an informal cooperation format that brings together NATO members bordering the Baltic or North Sea to develop joint defense projects in the region. In addition to Norway, Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Iceland, the Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania also belong to the northern group. Other member states are Poland, the Netherlands, Great Britain and Germany.
On the website of the German Ministry of Defense (BMVg) it is said about a meeting of the member states of the Northern Groupin 2020:
“At the meetings of the Northern Group, the defense ministers of all Scandinavian and Baltic states as well as Great Britain, Poland, the Netherlands and Germany come together to exchange views on current security and defense policy issues, primarily relating to Northern Europe operational readiness and the resumption of military exercises, taking appropriate protective measures into account.”
The meeting in 2020 related to the events surrounding the Corona crisis. With the start of the current military conflicts in Ukraine, the regular discussion of Finland and Sweden joining NATO is once again moving into the debate on foreign policy security issues in the EU states. Depending on how you look at it, the impending northern expansion of NATO through Finland’s final accession would at least represent an epochal shift in the borders of Western European military powers, or manifest another variant of NATO’s eastward expansion. the common border with NATO would add a full 1,300 kilometers to direct contact with Russia.
Finland and Sweden’s plans to position themselves more closely alongside NATO and the USA were made as early as 2018. The topic of Ukraine was already part of future cooperation at this point. A article the side Marine Corps Timesexplained in September 2018:
“In May, both Finland and Sweden signed a letter to the United States in which they committed to expanding their security relationship, e.g. through increased exercises and training. (…)The push for more formal relations with the US came in response to Russia’s 2014 invasion of Ukraine.”
In 2020informed Marine Corps Timesabout massive Finnish budget increases in the military sector:
“The Finnish Navy’s $1.5 billion Squadron 2020 program is taking shape against the backdrop of a Baltic link that could one day become the scene of a military conflict between Russia and NATO. The proposed acquisition of a new surface-to-air -Systems by the Finnish military is also related to the ‘Geschwader 2020’ program.”
In June 2021, they stayed for four weeks at the Finnish air base in Rissala in the Karelia regionfor practice purposesUnited States Marine Corps (USMC) F/A-18 Hornet multirole fighter aircraft and US KC-130 tank and transport aircraft at squadron level. Kareliais a historical landscape in north-eastern Europe, which is divided into Finnish and Russian areas. In December 2021 informed the page flight review:
“Finland confirms purchase of the F-35 Lightning. The Finnish Air Force will receive 64 next-standard Block 4 F-35A multirole fighter aircraft, a robust weapons package, a maintenance solution tailored to Finland’s unique security of supply requirements, and a comprehensive training program.”
The supplier is the US armaments company Lockheed Martin. The order is worth around 8.378 billion euros. “The offset orders are scheduled for over 20 years and maintenance for the F-35 will continue into the 2070s,” said Bridget Lauderdale, vice president and general manager of the F-35 program at Lockheed Martin, according to information from the flight review.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg offeredNot surprisingly, the heads of government in Finland and Sweden in mid-March uncomplicated regulations for both countries to join NATO quickly. Formulated through the political speaking flower, the request with a clear reference to the NATO member states read:
“Both countries meet the standards of the defense alliance. If they decide to apply, I expect all allies will welcome them.”
An application for membership must be accepted unanimously by all 30 NATO members. On April 13th titled the business week: “Finland’s prime minister is expecting a speedy decision on her country’s NATO membership.” This is what the article says:
“You assume that a decision is weeks, not months away,” Marin said on Wednesday during a visit to Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson in Stockholm. It is important to achieve as broad a consensus as possible on security and foreign policy issues .”
According to Marin, the “European security situation has changed fundamentally as a result of Russia’s attack on Ukraine.” Explaining the difference between a partner and a member of the NATO military alliance to the press, she recognized:
“Nothing offers such security guarantees as NATO Article 5, in which the NATO countries assure each other mutual assistance in the event of an attack. It contains both risks: if you apply for admission and if you don’t do so.”
Article 5 of the 1949 North Atlantic Treaty said:
“The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against them all; they therefore agree that in the event of such an armed attack, each of them, in the exercise of the powers set out in Article 51 of the Assist in the individual or collective self-defence of the party or parties who are attacked, in accordance with the law recognized by the United Nations Charter, by each of them promptly taking, individually and in cooperation with the other parties, such measures, including the use of armed force, as may be required deems it necessary to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.”
According to that Handelsblatt the envisaged “timetable” is already fixed. Accordingly, on “May 12, Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö should state his position on Finland joining NATO proclaim“. In Finland, the president has far-reaching powers in foreign and security policy. In addition to the fact that the “aggressor Putin” will be in close proximity to the future, NATO can, based on Finnish data, “significantly strengthen its position by adding “23,000 professional soldiers and 280,000 conscripts”. the information of Handelsblatt. In addition, the country has “over 870,000 reservists”.
On Tuesday, the heads of government of Finland and Sweden, Sanna Marin and Magdalena Andersson, were guests at the closed conference of the federal cabinet in Meseberg near Berlin. the Southgerman newspaper titled on this: “Finland and Sweden in NATO? Would the federal government be good”. Marin is in the Finnish media with the words quotedthat the meeting was “unique”, the timing was “perfect” and there was a “deep connection” between the countries, the newspaper said Helsinki Sanomat. On the subject of joining NATO together with Sweden, the Finnish head of government circulated the following:
“Now we must be courageous together”.
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