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Finland and Nato

Finland’s security environment changed fundamentally after Russia’s aggression against Ukraine in February 2022. After Russia’s aggression, Finland has reassessed its security policy situation. Finland is applying for NATO membership.

At its Madrid Summit on 29 June 2022, NATO leaders invited Finland to become a member of the Alliance. All of the NATO member countries signed Finland’s Accession Protocol on 5 July, and Finland became an observer member of NATO (invitee). As an invitee, Finland may participate in NATO meetings, but is not entitled to vote. Ratification is expected to last from a few months to one year.

Next in the accession process, all NATO countries have to ratify Finland’s Accession Protocol in accordance with their own national procedures, that is, to bring it into force in accordance with their own national procedures.

NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security in the changed security environment and would also improve stability and security in the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe. Finland’s strong defence capability and resilience to crisis would also strengthen NATO and the collective defence of the Alliance. 

Through NATO membership, Finland would be a part of NATO's collective defence and, thus, would be covered by the security guarantees enshrined in Article 5 of the Treaty. As a member of NATO, Finland would participate in making decisions on security policy issues that are of key importance to Finland. 

What is NATO?

The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) was established in 1949. It is a multilateral political and military alliance and a key actor that advances transatlantic and European security and stability.

There are 30 member countries in NATO, and 21 of them are also members of the European Union. The most recent member, North Macedonia, joined NATO in spring 2020. 

The principles of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) are set out in the North Atlantic Treaty (also known as the Washington Treaty), which was signed in 1949. The Treaty consists of 14 Articles.

Collective defence is NATO’s most important task

NATO’s purpose is to safeguard the freedom and security of all its members by political and military means. Its core tasks include collective defence and deterrence, crisis management, and cooperative security together with other organisations and countries.

Based on Article 5 of the Treaty, an attack against one Ally is considered as an attack against all Allies. NATO (also referred to as the Alliance)  maintains its member countries’ capacity to meet the obligation of mutual aid. This forms a credible deterrence against the use or threat of military force against the Alliance. 

Each member country is obliged to assist in ways that it deems necessary, including the use of military force, any member country that is the target of aggression. Besides collective defence, NATO's core tasks also include crisis management operations and the maintenance of a broad partnership network. 

NATO’s collective defence is based on an integrated military command structure, a collective defence planning process and exercises. This way NATO can defend its member countries should the need arise. NATO’s military structure receives political guidance from the member countries. 

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