Historically, a minority of the population of Sweden and Finland has been in favor of NATO membership, but the question of membership gained traction following the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine when both applied to join the organization.
The process for Sweden and Finland to join NATO is speeding up. Following this process, the countries who have ratified the accession of these two countries include Canada, Denmark, Iceland, Norway, Estonia, United Kingdom, Albania, Germany, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Bulgaria, Latvia, Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Belgium, Romania, France, Italy, United States, Spain, Greece, Portugal, and the Czech Republic.
Out of NATO’s 30 members, only the parliaments of Turkey and Hungary have not yet ratified entry for Sweden and Finland.
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken recently spoke with Swedish Foreign Minister, Tobias Billstrom to affirm the United States’ belief in the readiness of both Sweden and Finland to join NATO (North Atlantic Treaty Organization).
During that meeting, Secretary Blinken expressed the US’s strong support for the timely accession of both countries into the alliance at the earliest possible date, noting that their membership will make NATO stronger.
He went on to thank both Sweden and Finland for their dedication to upholding democratic values and contributing to global security, citing their contributions to peacekeeping and other international operations.
The Secretary also discussed a range of other topics, including efforts to foster international cooperation on a number of issues, including climate change, cyber security, and advancing the nuclear non-proliferation regime.
Secretary Blinken reaffirmed the US’s commitment to working with Sweden, Finland, and other allies in the region to promote peace, stability, and prosperity throughout Europe.
Also, he emphasized the importance of ongoing dialogue and cooperation to achieve these goals. This conversation was a continuation of the US’s commitment to building strong and lasting relationships with its allies in Europe.
Sweden & Finland providing benefits to NATO
The United States values its partnership with Sweden and Finland and looks forward to deepening ties in the coming years as both countries join NATO.
By joining NATO, Sweden, and Finland will be able to contribute their resources and expertise to strengthen the alliance and enhance its collective security.
Moreover, their membership will also bring new perspectives to NATO decision-making and help enhance the alliance’s commitment to multinational collaboration.
Furthermore, it will increase opportunities for cooperation with other members of the alliance, fostering stronger security and stability in the region.
In a nutshell, the US welcomes both Sweden and Finland’s commitment to joining NATO and looks forward to their accession at the earliest possible date.
US Secretary expressed his strong support for this goal during his conversation with Swedish Foreign Minister Billstrom previously and reaffirmed his commitment to working with both countries & other allies in the region to promote peace and stability in Europe.
Sweden & Finland acquiring benefits from NATO
To mention, Sweden and Finland both stand to benefit from a closer relationship with NATO. The alliance can help both countries build strong defense and counterterrorism capabilities, as well as provide consulting on cyber security, military intelligence, and modern warfare tactics.
Increased cooperation with NATO member states would also give Sweden and Finland access to the latest military technology and intelligence-sharing protocols, while regular military exercises could help enhance their interoperability with NATO forces.
Furthermore, improved coordination between the two countries and NATO could help ensure that they are prepared to deal with any potential security threats, helping to create a safer environment for citizens in both countries.
US ties with Sweden and Finland
For the record, the US has had strong diplomatic and economic ties with both Sweden and Finland for many years. The US is the largest export market for Swedish goods and services, accounting for roughly 25% of total Swedish exports.
Likewise, the two countries have held regular meetings to discuss cooperation in areas such as defense, countering terrorism, trade, and investments.
The US also ranks as the third-largest source of foreign investment in Sweden, behind the UK and Luxembourg. US companies have greatly benefited from the country’s open markets and well-developed infrastructure.
In recent years, the two countries have strengthened their ties through the US-Sweden Free Trade Agreement and increased cooperation on research and development projects.
Also read: Finland opens New Embassy in Senegal
On the other hand, Finland is an important partner for the US when it comes to trade, investment, innovation, and security.
Additionally, the US and Finland have a strong security relationship, with Finland often serving as a partner in training US troops and humanitarian missions.
The US is Finland’s largest foreign investor and the two countries have signed several bilateral agreements to strengthen the economic partnership, including an agreement on investment promotion and protection.
Finland is a member of the OECD (Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development) and the investment environment in Finland is attractive to foreign investors, providing access to skilled labor and advanced infrastructure.
Thus, the country is an important hub for US-EU trade, and many US companies have set up operations in Finland as a result.
Both countries also have an established history of working together on global diplomatic issues, and the US has expressed its desire to further strengthen ties between the two nations.
Mutual interest of the US, Sweden, and Finland in joining NATO
For the record, the US has been pushing for Sweden and Finland to join NATO for several years now because it believes that having both Sweden and Finland join NATO would be mutually beneficial for all involved.
For Sweden and Finland, it would mean increased military cooperation, greater protection from potential external threats, and more economic opportunities.
For the US, it would mean enhanced security and political influence in the region, as well as greater access to resources and increased stability.
To conclude, NATO membership would be an opportunity to further strengthen relations between the US, Sweden, and Finland and demonstrate a commitment to global peace and security.
*The writer is a Fellow at The Diplomatic Insight, published by the Institute of Peace and Diplomatic Studies
*The views presented by the author do not reflect the position of The Diplomatic Insight. Nor does The Diplomatic Insight bear any responsibility for the accuracy of the information cited.