Polls show large numbers of respondents, 62% of Finns and 42% of Swedes, want to join the alliance.
But why haven’t they done it before?
The Swedish have a neutrality stance — the country has not been involved in a war since the Napolean era over 200 years ago. When NATO was first created after World War II, Sweden attempted to create their own alternative that wasn’t aligned with Russia or the U.S.
That effort failed, but Sweden, committing to neutrality, still refused to join NATO.
Finland, on the other hand, actually went to war with Russia twice during World War II. It ended up losing 9% of the country. After that, it promised to be neutral throughout the Cold War.
Still, Sweden and Finland were both involved with NATO, even though they weren’t members. They were considered “partners in peace,” and assisted NATO efforts in Afghanistan.
But the Russia-Ukraine war triggered a surge of support for joining NATO, even though Russia has said such a move would have “military and political consequences” for Helsinki and Stockholm.
Finland shares the European Union’s longest border with Russia: a 1,340-kilometer frontier, while Sweden doesn’t have a border with Russia.