Finland and Sweden Set to Submit NATO Applications – According to local media reports, Finland and Sweden have agreed to submit membership applications to the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) simultaneously.
Iltalehto, a Finnish daily newspaper, reported on Monday how Stockholm had suggested that the two countries express their willingness to join the Western military alliance at the same time. The report also revealed that Helsinki had agreed to the proposal.
According to Expressen, a Swedish newspaper, government sources confirmed the report. It means that the two historically neutral countries could be set to further anger Russian President Vladimir Putin and risk retaliation from Moscow.
Russia previously warned Finland and Sweden against joining NATO and threatened to deploy tactical nuclear weapons in the Baltic Sea if the countries do decide to join. Dmitry Medvedev, the deputy chairman of the Russian Security Council, said that there would be no more talk of a “nuclear-free” Baltic Sea if Finland and Sweden side with the West.
“There can be no more talk of any nuclear-free status for the Baltic – the balance must be restored,” he said.
Instant De-Facto Members
Reports that Finland and Sweden would submit joint NATO membership bids were confirmed once again on Monday when Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that such a move would be “useful.”
The minister did not, however, offer a fixed date for when the rumored applications would be made.
When that decision is eventually made public, Sweden and Finland would be treated as de-facto members of the military alliance throughout their application process. It means that Finland and Sweden, neighbors to Russia with deep, historical geopolitical ties to the country, would be protected militarily in the event that Russia launches a military attack on either territory.
As de-facto members, Finland and Sweden would see a larger number of British and American troops in the Nordic region, and receive additional intelligence cooperation.
Croatia Opposes Swedish and Finnish NATO Membership?
Croatian President Xoran Milanovic publicly expressed opposition to the possibility of Sweden and Finland joining NATO this week,
During a press briefing on Tuesday, Milanovic said that he considered the possibility of the two countries joining the Western military alliance to be “dangerous charlatanism.”
“To involve Finland in this, which is 50kn from St. Petersburg, I think that this is a dangerous quackery,” he said. “However, we cannot say no because Finland is more important to us than Croatia and Croats in BiH [Bosnia and Herzegovina], right?”
The Croatian president’s comments about Bosnia and Herzegovina were sarcastic, and a reference to an ongoing disagreement with the United States, United Kingdom, and Germany over electoral legislation in neighboring Bosnia and Herzegovina.