: EUobserver: Russia wary as Nordic states mull closer NATO ties

16:06 May. 2, 2016

EUobserver: Russia wary as Nordic states mull closer NATO ties

A Finnish soldier patrols a military checkpoint on November 21, 2006 in Leipheim near Ulm (Getty Images)

Popular support for NATO grows in Finland and Sweden  in the wake of Russia's war on Ukraine

Both countries are strengthening their ties with NATO, in developments prompting Russian criticism and scrutiny.
Known in the Cold War for their neutrality, in 2014 the two Nordic states signed new accords with NATO on so-called host-nation support.

The agreements enable joint training and military assistance from NATO troops in emergency situations. The accord has already entered into force in Finland. It will be up for a vote in the Swedish parliament on 25 May.

It recommended that relations with NATO should be conducted together with Sweden.

Read also Security Police informs NATO about possible Russia's operations in Estonia

"Whatever is done should be done together," said Francois Heisbourg, one of the authors.

The experts noted that Finland took part in the EU's common security and defence policy (CSDP). But they said the EU policy was complementary to NATO's military capabilities rather than a potential substitute.

Finland's prime minister Juha Sipila welcomed the report's findings. He said Finland would let Sweden know if it chose to apply for NATO membership.

"We have promised not to surprise each other in these matters," Juha Sipila saidFull story

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