German Chancellor Olaf Scholz said in Berlin on Tuesday that his country would vote in favour of Finland and Sweden joining NATO if they decide to join. "If these two countries decide that they should join the NATO alliance, then they can count on our support," Scholz said Tuesday after participating in a cabinet meeting with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and her Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin.
At the end of the meeting, both leaders said Russia's attack on Ukraine had broken the security space of both countries and forced them to reconsider their participation in the Atlantic Alliance. "Russia's attack on Ukraine has completely changed our security environment" and "there was no turning back", Marin said. "We have to decide whether to apply for NATO membership or continue on our current path," she added. "That is the discussion we are having now in our national parliament," according to DW. During the meeting the three leaders expressed the friendship and closeness between their countries, with Scholz stressing at the beginning of the meeting the importance of Finland and Sweden as "close partners and important members of the European Union". In addition, Andersson remarked that, although security issues are dealt with at the national level, many issues are closely coordinated with Finland.
How is Russia shaping current geopolitics?
Vladimir Putin's territorial ambitions are becoming a real threat to all Baltic countries. Since the invasion of Ukraine, other non-NATO countries close to Russia fear that the attacks will spread to other countries close to Russia. Finland is one of these states directly threatened as it shares a 1,300-kilometre border with Russia, which has already moved to diminish Finnish territory after the Second World War, which placed these countries on opposite sides.
Fear of Russian aggression has led Sweden and Finland to reconsider their membership in the Atlantic Alliance, to which other Nordic countries such as Norway, Iceland, Denmark and Germany already belong. According to Iltalehti, one of Finland's leading newspapers, the Finnish parliament will decide on 12 May to apply for NATO membership. In case Finland joins the alliance, it is expected that Sweden will also apply to avoid being the only Nordic country outside NATO. This decision could come at a time when Swedish citizens are in favour of NATO membership in the wake of the Russian threat.
Global economy and climate change: other topics discussed at the meeting
Scholz commented at the end of the meeting that other topics of interest were also discussed, such as the "German economic model and the new challenges of the global economy". Russia's invasion of Ukraine not only threatens the national security of some states, but also poses additional difficulties for the German economy, especially in terms of importing cheap fuel. In the wake of the invasion, Germany has been under pressure from Ukraine and its allies to embargo Russian energy sources. In the face of these pressures, the German government has reversed course and now announces that it is prepared to back a possible EU embargo or partial embargo on Russian oil shipments. Tension is rising between EU countries over the purchase of gas and fuel from Russia due to Russia's demand to pay in roubles.