Finland wants to join Nato as soon as possible

The war in Ukraine has prompted a historic shift in Finland's foreign policy: Prime Minister Sanaa Marin and President Sauli Niinistö said on Thursday that their country should join Nato 'without delay' on the grounds that membership would boost Finland's security. What does the move mean for the future of the European continent?

Open/close all quotes
Ilta-Sanomat (FI) /

Moscow brought this on itself

For Ilta-Sanomat it's clear what has driven Finland towards Nato:

“There is only one reason for Finland's future Nato membership. Russia attacked Ukraine recklessly, illegally and brutally. Since then, no neighbouring country can trust it any more. Sweden will probably join Nato together with Finland. Russia will then be confronted with a united North on which it cannot exert any pressure at all.”

Dagens Nyheter (SE) /

Finland courageous and cool-headed

Finland's resolve is a good example for Sweden to follow, Dagens Nyheter comments:

“Perhaps the pragmatism of the Finnish leadership simply reflects that of the people? After all, the turnaround regarding Nato membership has been extraordinary. Just five years ago, barely 20 percent of Finns were in favour of joining the alliance. Today that figure has risen to 76 percent. The members of the Riksdag have made the same journey: 126 out of 200 are now back a Finnish application, while only ten are openly against. There is a consensus and an acknowledgement of the reality that was also of central importance to Sweden at a decisive historical moment. ... Finland simply had the courage and the cool-headedness to take the lead when it was needed.”

taz, die tageszeitung (DE) /

No time to deliberate

The Scandinavian correspondent of the taz, Reinhard Wolff, criticises that there has been no debate:

“It would certainly have been wrong not to consider the Nato option at all. But isn't the opposite, namely to immediately declare it a compelling consequence, just as problematic? And that is precisely what has happened. Faced with a geopolitical situation that makes it difficult to keep a clear head and make a far-sighted decision, the government, which when it took office had pledged to back disarmament and a ban on nuclear weapons, immediately changed tack and declared the Nato nuclear shield to be the only option for Finland's security. Time to deliberate? No chance.”

El Mundo (ES) /

Moscow will target the Achilles' heel

El Mundo fears Russia will turn off the gas tap as punishment:

“Moscow immediately warned that it would consider the accession of Finland to the alliance as 'a threat'. ... Putin's big energy trump card should not be underestimated here. Experts warn that the Union will not be able to replace Russian gas, and next winter will be a trial by fire. Moscow will use this weapon to divide certain European partners, knowing full well that this is their Achilles' heel.”

The Guardian (GB) /

Cyber-attacks and disinformation

Several main arguments against joining Nato have lost relevance in the last few months, observes The Guardian:

“The fear of provoking Moscow tied the hands of its neighbour Finland, and Sweden, for years. Now the all-out assault on Ukraine has led many to conclude that there is nothing to lose - while Russia's failures there have suggested that it may be less fearsome than they thought. ... Predictably, Russia has vowed retaliation for the Finnish announcement. It had already said it would deploy nuclear weapons in the Baltic, though the real threat is more likely to come in the form of disinformation, cyber-attacks, and other provocations.”