Finland joins NATO after a year of waiting

On April 4, 2023, Finland officially joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) as the 31st member of the alliance, after their long reputation of remaining neutral. Their membership was completed during a gathering at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. This addition of Finland increases the organization’s border with Russia by about 830 miles.

Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine back in February 2022, European countries that share a border with Russia have expressed their fear of involvement. Partaking in NATO adds security and help everytime a new country joins, something that Finland could use and provide for the other members. NATO states that they have an “Open door” policy when it comes to adding new members. According to NATO, “Any European state which can contribute to the security and principles of the Alliance can be invited to join.” However, it requires the approval of every NATO member to accept a country’s invitation into the alliance.

Finland and Sweden had both requested to join NATO in 2022, but they have had to wait for Turkey’s approval. Turkey was the last member of NATO to accept Finland after previous objections, according to Reuters. Vladimir Putin has requested that NATO take its borders back to the way they were in the 1990s. That would include removing members such as Estonia, Poland and Romania, who have to come to rely on the perks that come with being in a military alliance, especially an alliance as big as NATO. While NATO considers Sweden’s membership, Putin has united countries across western Europe more than he expected. It is clear that Sweden is doing their due diligence in the situation, when the Swedish prime minister said that “I think you really have to analyze the new situation, do it very seriously, think about the consequences, the pros and cons of all potential ways forward.”

As for Finland being the newest member in NATO, the Security General, Jen Stoltenberg, expressed cheerful thoughts when Finland’s flag was raised at NATO headquarters, and said that “it will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole.”