Finland’s NATO accession process
On Tuesday 17 May 2022, the President of the Republic of Finland decided, on the proposal of the Government, to notify the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) of Finland’s interest to engage in talks on accession to NATO and appointed a delegation to Finland’s accession talks to be held with NATO and its member countries.
Finland’s declaration of its interest to accede to NATO and engage in accession talks is in the form of a letter signed by the Minister for Foreign Affairs delivered to the NATO Secretary General. After receiving the letter, NATO will process the matter and decide on inviting Finland to accession talks.
Accession talks will cover political, legal, resource, information security, and defence and military issues.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will lead Finland’s delegation, which was appointed by the President of the Republic, and Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen will serve as Alternate Head of Delegation. The delegation includes members from the Ministry for Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Defence, the Defence Command of the Finnish Defence Forces and the Ministry of Finance.
Stages of Finland’s NATO accession process
Finland sets in motion the accession process
- The accession process begins on the initiative of the aspirant country. In Finland, first there are preparatory considerations by the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy and the President of the Republic. Then the actual process starts when the Government submits a report or communication to Parliament.
- The report or communication is deliberated by Parliament. Then Parliament informs the Government of its position in a communication.
- Next, the President of the Republic of Finland, on the basis of a presentation by the Government, decides on Finland's aspirations to start accession talks and appoints a delegation for the talks and adopts instructions for the talks.
- Then Finland informs NATO of its willingness to start accession talks.
The talks begin and the NATO member countries invite Finland to the accession talks
- The NATO member countries must reach a unanimous decision before the accession talks can start.
Finland submits a letter of intent
- After the talks have ended, the President of the Republic of Finland decides, by proposal of the Government, to submit a letter of intent to NATO. By submitting a letter of intent, Finland confirms its willingness and ability to join NATO. NATO’s Secretary General responds to this in a reply letter.
The Accession Protocol of Finland is signed and ratified
- All NATO member countries sign the Accession Protocol of Finland, whereby Finland becomes an observer member of NATO. As an observer member, Finland is entitled to attend NATO meetings.
- All NATO member countries ratify the Accession Protocol of Finland in accordance with their national procedures and notify the Depositary U.S. Government of it. All NATO countries have to ratify the Accession Protocol before Finland can become a member country.
Finland becomes committed to the North Atlantic Treaty
- The Secretary-General of NATO invites Finland to accede to the North Atlantic Treaty (NATO Treaty), as amended by the Accession Protocol of Finland.
- The Government plenary session submits to Parliament a government proposal for the acceptance and bringing into force of the Accession Agreement.
- Parliament considers the government proposal and responds to it.
- The Government plenary session presents the parliamentary reply to the President of the Republic of Finland, who approves the accession and the bill for the Act to bring into force the Accession Agreement.
- The instrument of accession of Finland is deposited with the Government of the United States. The Accession Agreement is brought into force by an Act and a Decree simultaneously with the entry into force of the accession of Finland. The Agreement is published.
The Accession Agreement enters into force, meaning that Finland becomes a full member of NATO and Finland is committed to other NATO agreements as a NATO member country
The special status of Åland under international law is taken into account already at the beginning of the accession process. The Government of Åland is informed of the stages of the process.
After signing Finland’s possible Accession Protocol, the Parties to the Convention Relating to the Non-Fortification and Neutralisation of the Åland Islands and the Agreement Concerning the Åland Islands are notified of Finland's intention to accede to NATO.