The addition of Finland to the Alliance is a significant milestone and will further solidify NATO’s presence in northern Europe. It also provides another ally for the Western world in countering Russian influence in its neighborhood. Finland’s decision to join NATO comes after years of debate over whether it should align itself with the military Alliance or remain neutral like Sweden. After much deliberation, Finnish officials ultimately decided that joining NATO was the best way to ensure security and stability. To become a member of NATO, Finland had to meet certain criteria, including modernizing its armed forces and strengthening ties with other members of the Alliance.
This included signing an accession agreement during last year’s summit in London, which outlined how Finland would work within NATO going forward. Now that Turkey and all other member states have approved it, Finland is officially set to join on Tuesday, making it one of two non-EU countries – alongside Norway – currently part of the Alliance. Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General, emphasized that Finland’s participation in NATO “will be good for the country itself and all of our allies.” He said Finnish troops would contribute to collective defense and share security responsibilities with other members.
In addition, he noted that Finland had been a strong partner in operations and missions such as Afghanistan. He further highlighted that “Finland brings valuable expertise on cyber defense, counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, and many other areas. So their membership will make us stronger together.” NATO’s secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, has tried to play the role of mediator, urging all sides to compromise.
He recently visited both Turkey and Sweden in search of a way forward. But any resolution may take some time; previous negotiations over Swedish membership were mired in bureaucracy for years before they collapsed altogether. As tensions rise between Russia and the West, many experts are beginning to think that it’s worth the wait: an alliance with Sweden could give NATO more clout against Moscow — but only if it can be done soon enough.
At the same time, Finland and Sweden have increased their military collaboration with NATO through joint exercises and training. Last year, all Nordic countries joined the Alliance’s program to improve its ability to defend against cyberattacks. The two countries have been outspoken in their support of Ukraine’s right to self-determination, and they hope that NATO membership will help them better defend against potential Russian aggression. Finland and Sweden are committed to strengthening their defense capabilities, with the Swedish government recently announcing plans to increase its military spending by 10 percent over the next five years. In addition, both countries invest heavily in infrastructure upgrades such as new air bases and coastal defense systems.
The increased military presence is meant to signal a clear message: attempts at foreign interference will not be tolerated. At the same time, Finland and Sweden remain open to dialogue with Russia. They continue cooperating on trade and energy security issues while maintaining a firm stance on preserving European peace and stability through international cooperation.
Sweden has sought to join NATO since the end of the Cold War, but its application was delayed due to opposition from Turkey. Sweden’s other Nordic neighbors – Denmark, Finland, and Norway – are already members of the Alliance. Since World War II, the country has declared itself a “neutral” power and is not part of any military bloc. Despite this, it participates in joint exercises with NATO countries and contributes troops to international operations such as Afghanistan.
Despite having no formal ties with NATO, Sweden provides valuable resources for the organization in areas such as cyber defense and specialized training for officers from Eastern Europe. This indicates that even if Stockholm cannot become an official member state, it will continue to be closely associated with the Alliance in some form or another despite Turkey’s objections.