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Finland, Sweden, and the future of NATO

Long committed to neutral foreign and security policies, the Nordic countries of Finland and Sweden have fundamentally reassessed their positions in the aftermath of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. The two countries officially applied for NATO membership on Wednesday, May 18. Although the accession process was initially expected to be fast-tracked, the path to NATO membership could be slower than many had hoped.

How fast could membership come into effect, especially given Turkey’s objections, and what interim steps should be considered to enhance the security of Finland and Sweden in the meantime? What effects might Finnish and Swedish NATO membership have on the ongoing conflict in Ukraine and future NATO-Russia relations? How might NATO adjust its forward military posture to back up Article V mutual-defense guarantees to these possible new members?

On May 23, Brookings will host an event featuring the Finnish ambassador to the U.S., Mikko Hautala, and the Swedish ambassador to the U.S., Karin Olofsdotter, to discuss the implications of their two countries joining the alliance. The conversation will be moderated by Brookings senior fellows Michael E. O’Hanlon and Constanze Stelzenmüller.

After the discussion, the ambassadors will take questions from the audience. Online viewers can submit questions via e-mail to or via Twitter at #NATOMembership.

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