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April 4th: A Turning Point For Finland, NATO, And The Balance Of Power In Europe

Finland officially joins NATO on April 4th, marking a turning point for the nation, the alliance, and the balance of power in Europe. Amid ongoing tensions with Russia and Turkey’s opposition to Sweden’s NATO bid, Finland’s accession strengthens regional security and NATO’s collective defense.



April 4th: A Turning Point For Finland, NATO, And The Balance Of Power In Europe

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Key Points:

  1. Finland joined NATO after Turkey, the last holdout, gave its unanimous approval. This made NATO’s presence in the area stronger.
  2. Even though Finland joined NATO, Turkey still won’t let Sweden join. The main reason is that there are anti-Muslim feelings in Sweden.
  3. Even though Russia is acting aggressively, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says that the alliance is still committed to helping Ukraine and keeping a fair and lasting peace in Europe. 

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Monday that Finland will officially join the alliance on Tuesday, April 4th, becoming its 31st member.

This development comes after Turkey, the last NATO country to oppose Finland’s entry, changed its stance last Thursday.

The Turkish Parliament unanimously approved Finland’s membership, clearing the path for its official accession.

“Tomorrow, we will welcome Finland as the 31st member of NATO,” Stoltenberg said in comments before a NATO foreign affairs meeting. “We will raise the Finnish flag for the first time here at NATO headquarters. It will be a good day for Finland’s security, for Nordic security, and for NATO as a whole.”

However, Turkey continues to block Sweden’s bid for NATO membership, citing what it perceives as anti-Muslim sentiments within the country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has maintained a cool stance toward Sweden’s NATO aspirations since anti-Muslim protests erupted in Stockholm in January, which involved the burning of the Quran and hanging of an effigy of Erdogan near the Turkish embassy.

Finland, which shares an 832-mile border with Russia, sought to join NATO alongside Sweden following Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine in February 2022.

Finland’s decision to join NATO comes at the same time as a change in the country’s leadership. On Sunday, National Coalition Party leader Petteri Orpo beat out center-left Social Democratic Party Prime Minister Sanna Marin in a close election.

Stoltenberg said that Russia’s attacks on Ukraine will continue to be NATO’s biggest worry for a while.

“We do not know when this war will end,” he said, “but when it does, we will need to put in place arrangements so that Ukraine can deter future aggression. And history does not repeat itself. We cannot allow Russia to continue to chip away at European security.”

Russia has said that NATO’s expansion pushed it into war, but Stoltenberg says that the alliance is working to keep “a just and lasting peace” in Europe.

“There are no signs that President Putin is preparing for peace,” Stoltenberg said. “He is preparing for more war. That is why we are united in our determination to stay the course and support Ukraine for as long as it takes.”

Stoltenberg also talked about how allies are still sending military aid to Ukraine. So far, they have given 65 billion euros.

He welcomed the arrival of modern battle tanks and other armored vehicles in Ukraine, which could significantly impact frontlines and enable Ukrainian forces to reclaim more territory.

Stoltenberg said that, because China is still being aggressive, NATO will meet on Wednesday with its Indo-Pacific partners Australia, Japan, New Zealand, and South Korea to talk about how to deal with the growing threat. 

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