Reports: Sweden and Finland agree to apply for NATO membership at the same time

Sanna Marin and Magdalena Andersson.
Sanna Marin and Magdalena Andersson. Roni Rekomaa/Lehtikuva/AFP via Getty Images

Finland and Sweden are preparing to simultaneously submit membership applications to NATO, and could do so as early as mid-May, Nordic media organizations reported Monday.

The Finnish newspaper Iltalehti reports that Sweden "suggested the two countries indicate their willingness to join" the alliance on the same day, and Finland agreed "as long as the Swedish government has made its decision."

Earlier this month, both prime ministers said they were contemplating membership, as the Russian invasion of Ukraine changed the "security landscape" of Europe. Moscow has warned the countries against applying for membership, saying Russia would be forced to strengthen its defenses in the Baltic in order to "restore military balance."

Finland and Sweden are nonaligned militarily, but became NATO partners in 1995 when joining the European Union. New opinion polls indicate that about 68 percent of Finns are supportive of joining NATO, more than double the number before the Russian invasion of Ukraine, while in Sweden, "a slim majority" of residents are in favor of joining, The Guardian reports.

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