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HomeGeopolitical CompassEurope, Russia, OceaniaNATO’s Nordic Expansion: Adding Finland and Sweden Will Transform European Security

NATO’s Nordic Expansion: Adding Finland and Sweden Will Transform European Security

Author: Carl Bildt

Affiliation: Co-Chair of the European Council on Foreign Relations and Former Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Sweden

Organization/ Publisher: Foreign Affairs

Date/Place: April 26, 2022/New York, USA

Type of Literature: Opinion Article

Word Count: 1950



Keywords: NATO, Russia, Sweden, Finland, Security, War



For Finland and Sweden, NATO membership had never been a part of a major political debate before the Russian invasion of Ukraine. However, the war has changed everything, including the security dynamics of Europe. Therefore, due to the ongoing war in their neighborhood, both countries are now recalculating their strategic and security measures, and considering NATO membership especially as the most needed option. This is also reflected in recent polls which show an increasing majority in both countries that support joining the alliance. Moreover, both countries have delivered a significant amount of weapons to Ukraine against the Russian invasion. Apparently, Putin’s assault has unified Europe and made NATO’s expansion more likely. By joining the alliance, Sweden and Finland will add more sophisticated and advanced military capabilities that have the potential to deter Russian aggression in Europe. The author identifies that historically, these Nordic countries are similar to one another in many respects. While Denmark and Norway sought neutrality, Finland initially rebuffed a Soviet invasion in the Winter War of 1939–1940. Later, it found itself fighting on Hitler’s side until it could extricate itself from the war. Among the Nordic countries, Sweden alone escaped the horrors of war and occupation with a policy of neutrality designed to ensure its survival. However, in the recent scenario, EU membership already implies the end of political neutrality—but the countries now expect more in terms of security. Therefore, joining NATO means “ditching the concept of neutrality”.  Keeping the historic position in view, the ongoing war provides an opportunity for these two countries to reconsider fundamental elements of their security policies in terms of their relationship with NATO without provoking Russia.

By: Maryam Khan, CIGA Research Associate



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