July 2, 2024

Finland: Integrating a new Ally

NATO’s newest Ally Finland wins 2023 'European Best Sniper Competition'
NATO’s newest Ally Finland wins 2023 'European Best Sniper Competition'

NATO heads of state and government will gather in Washington on 9-11 July to mark the Alliance’s 75th anniversary. While a third year of full-scale war rages in Europe, they will need to guard the tone of their celebrations. But it would be remiss of the Allies not to recognise the importance and success of their organisation. NATO remains the essential transatlantic forum. It has had huge positive impact on security in Europe and elsewhere, built shared understanding and purpose among a growing number of members, and successfully adapted to decades of changing circumstances. There is much to applaud.

But there is also work to be done. The summit’s main business will concern Ukraine, defence and deterrence, and burden-sharing. While there are unlikely to be big announcements, the summit should play a significant role in ensuring that the decisions taken in Madrid in 2022, and Vilnius in 2023 are properly implemented. This series of briefs examines some of the key issues for the Washington Summit.

One of the more surprising consequences of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine was Finland’s accession to NATO in April 2023 (and Sweden’s in March 2024). In the fourth brief of the series, Iro Särkkä looks at Finland’s integration into the Alliance. Over the past year, Finland has found that its initial resistance to changing any aspect of its fiercely independent defence model is not sustainable in the face of the needs of NATO’s collective defence. As it integrates more closely, it has an opportunity to carve out a role as a champion of Nordic-Baltic interests.

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