Finland expected to announce decision to join NATO today

Finland is expected to announce decision to join North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) on Sunday (May 15). Meanwhile, Sweden’s ruling party is holding a key meet that may lead to both countries applying jointly for membership of the alliance.

The two Nordic neighbours have been militarily non-aligned for decades look keen to reverse policy in light of Russian invasion of Ukraine. The move has come less than three months after Russia’s February 24 invasion.

“Hopefully we can send our applications next week together with Sweden,” Finland’s Prime Minister Sanna Marin said on Saturday.

The countries broke their strict neutralities after the end of the Cold War by joining the EU and becoming partners to NATO in the 1990s, solidifying their affiliation with the West.

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But the concept of full NATO membership was a non-starter in the countries until the war in Ukraine saw public and political support for joining the military alliance soar in both countries.

Finland has been leading the charge, while Sweden appears anxious at being the only non-NATO country around the Baltic Sea.

Many Swedish politicians have said that they will support Sweden joining NATO if Finland does the same.

Three days after publicly saying their country “must apply for NATO membership without delay”, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin are due to announce Helsinki’s decision on whether to seek membership at a news conference at 1 pm (1000 GMT).

After a government council meeting, they are expected to submit a membership proposal to parliament on Monday.

(With inputs from agencies)