Germany supports Sweden and Finland joining NATO as the two countries expressed their desire to join the alliance after decades of neutrality.
“If Finland and Sweden decide to join the NATO military alliance, they can count on our support,” German Chancellor Olaf Schulz said after a two-day closed-door meeting with leaders of the two Nordic countries in a town near Berlin , told reporters on May 3. .
Scholz also said Finland and Sweden could count on Germany’s support as they wait for their applications to join NATO to be approved. “As Europeans, we feel obligated to do so,” the German chancellor said.
Mr Scholz’s comments follow news that Finnish President Sauli Niinistö may announce his intention to join NATO as early as May 12. It is unclear whether Sweden will make a similar move, although the country’s parliament recently said it would review its national security policy and consider the pros and cons of joining NATO before making a decision.
Earlier it was reported that the two countries will apply to join NATO at the same time. However, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Havestow said last week that his country could apply to join NATO without waiting for its neighbors.
“It would be nice to apply at the same time as Sweden, but it is up to Stockholm to decide,” Haavisto said, adding that Finland could start the NATO application process “before the summer.”
Following Scholz’s comments, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Anderson said Stockholm had not made a decision and was considering all options, and confirmed it would work closely with Finland. Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin made a similar statement.
“Finland and Sweden are facing important decisions about security,” Marin said. Russia’s military operations in Ukraine “dramatically altered our security environment and cannot be restored to its former state”.
The German chancellor also sees Russia’s military action as a “turning point” in European security, prompting Berlin to change its stance against sending weapons to its long-standing conflict zone.
“This policy change is right and necessary. We are delivering massive aid to Ukraine and will continue to do so,” Mr Scholz said.
After the end of the Cold War, Sweden and Finland have become increasingly close to NATO and regularly send troops to participate in joint exercises with NATO. The two countries have also worked closely with the United States on military training since 2015.
However, despite being close NATO partners, neither Helsinki nor Stockholm are protected by Article 5 of the NATO Mutual Defense Treaty. Observers believe that joining NATO will help both countries strengthen security and deterrence against threats.
Russia has long opposed NATO’s eastward expansion. If Finland and Sweden abandon their decades-long policy of non-alignment and join NATO, Russia will be forced to restore military balance by strengthening the region’s defenses, the Kremlin warned on April 11. The Baltic Sea region, including the deployment of nuclear weapons there.
Xuanle (according to Deutsche Welle, reverse transcription)