HELSINKI (AP) – Through the Cold War and the decades since, nothing could persuade Finns and Swedes that they would be better off joining NATO – until now.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has profoundly changed Europe’s security outlook, including for Nordic neutrals Finland and Sweden, where support for joining NATO has surged to record levels.
A poll commissioned by Finnish broadcaster YLE this week showed that, for the first time, more than 50 per cent of Finns support joining the Western military alliance. In neighbouring Sweden, a similar poll showed those in favour of NATO membership outnumber those against.
“The unthinkable might start to become thinkable,” tweeted former Swedish Prime Minister Carl Bildt, a proponent of NATO membership.
Neither country is going to join the alliance overnight. Support for NATO membership rises and falls, and there’s no clear majority for joining in their Parliaments.