NATO plan stands: What if Russia now attacks Finland or Sweden?
Created: 06/29/2022, 12:35 p.m
By: Andreas Schmid
Turkey, Sweden and Finland sign a memorandum.
It states that Turkey agrees to Finland and Sweden joining NATO.
© Bernat Armangue/dpa
Nothing stands in the way of NATO's northern expansion.
Finland and Sweden want to join the alliance.
What does that mean?
All important questions and answers.
Madrid - The media representatives in the press center of the NATO summit already suspected it when the Swedish, Finnish and Turkish flags were hoisted next to the NATO flag on Tuesday evening (June 28): the week-long NATO dispute over the countries' accession has been settled .
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said: "I am pleased to be able to tell you that we now have an agreement that paves the way for Finland and Sweden to join NATO." But what does the northern expansion of NATO actually mean?
Turkey and Sweden/Finland in the NATO dispute - what was the reason?
In order for NATO to grow, unanimity is needed among the 30 member states.
Turkey recently blocked a quick agreement.
Ankara accused Sweden and Finland of harboring the banned Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).
It is also classified as a "terrorist organization" by its western allies.
The countries have now signed a declaration of intent that addresses Turkish reservations.
Among other things, it is about arms exports and the fight against terrorism.
The 30 member states of NATO
Albania, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Denmark, Germany, Estonia, France, Greece, Great Britain, Iceland, Italy, Canada, Croatia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Montenegro, Netherlands, North Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Czech Republic, Turkey, Hungary, USA
Sweden and Finland NATO members: how and when will the admission happen?
With the end of the Turkish-Scandinavian differences, the northward expansion of NATO is in principle only a matter of form.
Sweden and Finland will receive the official invitation to join the world's largest defense alliance at the NATO summit in Madrid on Wednesday.
After accession talks at NATO headquarters in Brussels, Sweden and Finland have to sign the declaration of commitment.
There are also a few formal conditions, such as adapting the NATO treaty using the so-called accession protocols.
Each member state then votes again on the protocols, in Germany it is the Bundestag.
Approval is assured because governments usually have a parliamentary majority.
How long that takes varies.
In the case of the youngest NATO member, North Macedonia, the process takes more than a year and a half.
Also because the country had to implement reforms.
In the case of Sweden and Finland, agreement can be expected to be reached more quickly.
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Why do Sweden and Finland even want to join NATO?
In fact, Sweden and Finland have been neutral for decades.
However, the Northern Lights feel threatened by Russia due to the Ukraine war and are therefore looking for NATO support.
Finland shares a 1300 km border with Russia.
What happens if Russia attacks Sweden and Finland before joining NATO?
The most important credo of NATO is Article 5, also known as the alliance case.
It states: If a NATO member is attacked, NATO considers this an attack on the entire NATO.
So if Russia attacks Finland, NATO would respond militarily.
A large-scale European war could no longer be ruled out.
Should Russia attack Finland before it is officially a member, the alliance case will not apply from a purely legal point of view.
NATO would probably intervene anyway.
Countries like Great Britain have already announced that they will provide Finland with military assistance in this case.
Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said that Finland and Sweden are currently "vulnerable".
Germany is therefore committed to ensuring that there is no long transition period before accession.
The Ukraine war has made a Russian attack on NATO territory more conceivable.
At the moment, however, this cannot be assumed.
The parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America will be considered an attack against them all.
First sentence in NATO Article 5
NATO northern expansion: how does the alliance benefit from Finland and Sweden?
NATO is currently planning to increase the number of soldiers.
The rapid reaction force is to grow from 40,000 to 300,000 by 2023, which is intended to strengthen the eastern flank in particular.
German soldiers will then probably be stationed in larger numbers in Lithuania.
Sweden and Finland are to contribute to strengthening with their own troops.
According to the military magazine
Finland has 23,000 active soldiers and Sweden 16,000 immediately “ready to fight”.
The International Institute for Strategic Studies names 19,250 Finnish and 14,600 Swedish soldiers.
Finland also has around 240,000 reservists, which could be expanded to up to 870,000 in the event of war.
Sweden intends to continue to expand its military over the next few years, with a total of up to 60,000 soldiers ready, with around 10,000 reservists at the moment.
The military of both countries is strategically well developed, especially in the areas of air force and navy.
Conscription is compulsory in Finland, while it is “limited duty” in Sweden.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson summed it up: "The accession of Sweden and Finland will make our brilliant alliance stronger and more secure." (