Finland has announced it wants to apply to join Nato within days, while Sweden is also considering the option. The two countries bordering Russia aim to strengthen their security in the aftermath of the Kremlin’s invasion of Ukraine.
If the two countries send their applications next week, Nato should accept them quickly, but the full process will take longer. All thirty members of the alliance have to endorse the applications, and this can take up to a year.
In order to join Nato, countries are expected to meet specific criteria. These include being a functioning democracy based on a market economy, a commitment to peaceful resolution of conflicts, the fair treatment of minority populations, the willingness to make a military contribution to Nato and a commitment to democratic civil-military relations.
Finland and Sweden should easily tick all the boxes. Bosnia and Herzegovina, Georgia and most recently Ukraine have expressed their desire to be Nato members.