Finland joins NATO


    In News

    • Finland recently joined the US-led North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO).

    Finland-Russia ties & Background of the move

    • Borders:
      • Finland and Russia share a 1,300-km border and doubling it from the present 1,200 km, parts of NATO in northern Norway, Latvia and Estonia, and Poland and Lithuania.
    • Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance:
      • Post-World War-II, Finland sought to achieve neutrality through a defence alliance with the Soviet Union called the Treaty of Friendship, Co-operation and Mutual Assistance 
      • Finland also stayed out of the Marshall Plan as the treaty protected it from being attacked or incorporated into the USSR like the Baltic and eastern European states. 
        • It allowed the country to pursue the path of democracy and capitalism while staying out of the conflict between the great powers.
        • Marshall Plan : It was the US aid programme for Europe’s post-World War II recovery. 
        • After the end of the Cold War and the disintegration of the Soviet Union, Finnish neutrality was manifest in its decision to stay out of NATO, even as it entered the European Union in 1995. 
      • This approach of Finland is also famously known as the Finland model, or “Finlandisation”.
    • Ready for Russian invasion:
      • But despite years of peace, Finland has kept itself prepared for an invasion. 
      • The country has compulsory military service and imparts regular disaster training.
      • Its defence spending is 2 per cent of GDP, the target figure demanded by NATO which even member countries like Germany have not reached.

    Reason of joining NATO

    • Russia going to war against Ukraine has made its smaller neighbours crave the powerful military backing the NATO offers, under whose charter, every member has to defend any one member being attacked.
      • Finland and its neighbour Sweden applied for NATO membership soon after the Russian invasion of Ukraine. 
    • Any new applicant has to be approved by all existing members of the alliance, and while Finland is now the 31st NATO member. 
      • Sweden’s bid is being held up by Turkey and Hungary.

    Significance of Finland joining NATO

    • For Finland:
      • Security Assurance: 
        • Being a member of NATO will give the nations a security guarantee under the alliance’s “Article 5” on collective defence.
        • The article essentially guarantees a military response and protection by NATO countries if any member of the organisation comes under attack.
      • Bolster the Nordic Region: 
        • It would formalize their joint security and defense work with neighbors Denmark, Norway, and Iceland.
      • Losing on Russian trade:
        • For Finland, while the country is in a better position in terms of security, it is losing out on the significant trade and tourist revenue it was making from Russia, and from its position as the West’s gateway to the East.
      • Threats from Russia:
        • Russia has said that Finland has committed “a dangerous historical mistake that would fray relations with Moscow and undo its status as a confidence-building presence in the Baltic Sea and Europe at large”.
      • Lost the say:
        • Some also criticised the move stating that, Finland has become one of the small members of (NATO) that doesn’t decide anything, losing its special voice in international affairs.
    • For NATO:
      • For NATO, the addition of Finland brings in 
        • A military trained to repel an attack from Russia, and, 
        • By doubling its border with the country, brings it in a better position to station weapons, including missile launchpads, closer to Russia.
    • For Russia:
      • For Russia, Finland’s move has brought NATO closer to its doors, the very thing it most strenuously opposes, and the prevention of which it had cited as one of the reasons to invade Ukraine.

    Way ahead

    • Russia has stated it would now strengthen its military capacity in its west and northwest.
    • Observers have also noted that Finland’s accession “raised the risk of the Ukraine conflict escalating further”.
    • Some may see an expanding NATO and the growing role of the US in European security as a repetition of history where war was an ever-present threat. 
      • Even during the Cold War the US and the Soviet Union met regularly to reduce the risk of war, especially nuclear.


    • North Atlantic Treaty Organization is a military alliance made up of the United States, Canada, France, and eight other European countries.
    • It was founded in 1949. 
    • It currently has 31 members, with 28 from Europe, two from North America, and one from Eurasia
    • The key purpose of NATO’s formation was to create a “collective defence” against any potential German or Soviet Union attack in the aftermath of World War II.
    • Article 5: If a NATO member attacks another member, it is considered ‘an attack on all NATO members, according to Article 5 of NATO.
    • NATO’s support is restricted without membership. It does not, for example, commit to sending troops to non-member countries. 
      • It has, however, dispatched troops to neighbouring nations and expressed public support for Ukraine.
    • Membership of NATO 
      • It is open to all European nations that fulfil certain criteria that include “a functioning democratic political system based on a market economy; fair treatment of minority populations; a commitment to resolve conflicts peacefully; an ability and willingness to make a military contribution to NATO operations; and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations and institutions”.
      • New members are admitted with the unanimous consent of all members
    • Who controls NATO?
      • The Military Committee, NATO’s highest military authority, is in charge of NATO’s Command Structure (NCS), which is made up of the Chiefs of Defence of all twenty-nine member countries. 
      • Allied Command Operations (ACO) and Allied Command Transformation (ACT) are the two strategic commands that make up the NCS (ACT).

    Source: TH