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Finland and Nato

Finland’s security environment changed fundamentally when Russia invaded Ukraine in February 2022. After the invasion, Finland reassessed its security policy situation and applied for NATO membership.

Finland became a full member of NATO on 4 April 2023.

NATO membership will strengthen stability and security in Finland and throughout the Baltic Sea region and Northern Europe. Finland’s strong defence capabilities and resilience to crises will also strengthen NATO and the collective defence of the Alliance.

As a member of the Alliance, Finland is part of NATO’s collective defence and is covered by the security guarantees enshrined in Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty. NATO membership also means that Finland is involved in decision-making on security policy questions that are essential for Finland.

Finland's goal is for Sweden to also become a NATO member as soon as possible. With Finland and Sweden as NATO members, the threshold for using military force in the Baltic Sea region will rise, which will enhance the stability of the region in the long term. Once Finland and Sweden have joined NATO, all of the Nordic countries will be NATO members. This means that the Nordic countries can advocate together for issues important to them within the Alliance.

What is NATO?

Founded in 1949, the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is a multilateral defence alliance and a key promoter of security and stability in Europe and the transatlantic community.

NATO has 31 member countries, 22 of which are also members of the European Union.

NATO’s principles are enshrined in its founding document, the North Atlantic Treaty, which was signed in 1949. The North Atlantic Treaty, also known as the Washington Treaty, consists of 14 articles.

The North Atlantic Treaty

Collective defence is NATO’s most important task

NATO’s fundamental goal is to safeguard the freedom and security of its members through political and military means. Its main tasks are to ensure collective defence, crisis management and cooperative security together with other organisations and states.

Under Article 5 of the North Atlantic Treaty, an armed attack against one member country is considered an attack against them all. NATO upholds the capacity of its member countries to meet the obligation for mutual assistance. This provides credible deterrence against the use or threat of military force against the Alliance. 

If a NATO member country is attacked, each member country is obliged to assist by taking such action as it deems necessary, including the use of military force. In addition to collective defence, NATO’s core tasks include crisis management operations and maintaining an extensive partnership network. 

NATO’s capability for collective defence is based on an integrated military command structure, a common defence planning process, operational plans and joint exercises. This ensures that NATO is able to defend its member countries if such a need arises. NATO’s military structure operates under the political steering of the member countries. 

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