Finland will decide whether to join NATO next week on May 12, according to Finnish publication Iltalehti, which cited anonymous government insiders. Sweden may likely follow Finland as the two countries are reportedly joining the alliance together. This report follows increased tensions between Sweden and Russia as the Swedish Government discovered a Russian spy plane over their airspace a few days ago.

The announcement to join the alliance will be first made by the Finnish President, Sauli Niinisto, to be followed by approval from the country’s parliament. This is because, according to the Finnish constitution, the President has authority on matters regarding foreign and security policy in coordination with the national government.

News of the upcoming decision comes after a previous report by the same Finnish newspapers, which claimed that Sweden and Finland have both agreed to file their NATO applications simultaneously.

According to Iltalehti, Swedish officials “suggested the two countries indicate their willingness to join” on the same date, adding that their Finnish counterparts agreed, “as long as the Swedish government has made its decision.”

Sweden and Finland have been in close contact since Russia launched its unjustified invasion of Ukraine. Over the past weeks, the two Nordic countries, which have both previously embraced a foreign policy of non-alignment, have shown a strong inclination to join the NATO alliance.

Niinistö and Biden in the White House in 2022 (Executive Office of the President of the United States., Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons). Source:
Niinistö and Biden in the White House in 2022 (Executive Office of the President of the United States, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin has said that the decision to join the alliance will be “quite fast, in weeks not months,” despite constant threats from the Kremlin. Among all countries, Finland shares the longest land border with Russia at around 810 miles (1,300 kilometers). This puts the country at the vanguard of Russian aggression if the latter decides to make do with its threats.

In Stockholm, the parliament is conducting a broad security policy review on the benefits and the risks of joining NATO. Results were initially scheduled for May 31 but were moved to May 13 after significant pressure brought by the conclusion of a similar report by their Finnish counterparts. Notably, the Swedish parliament has majority support to join NATO.

Over in Helsinki, the ruling Social Democrat party is set to have an internal debate regarding concerns over NATO membership on May 9 through 12. Results are to be declared by the party leadership on May 24. However, this date will likely come earlier if the decision to join on May 12 is announced.