Jens Stoltenberg, the Secretary General of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), has announced that Finland has become the 31st member of the alliance, thanks to Turkey’s unanimous vote. Despite Russia’s opposition to Finland’s membership, Turkey’s approval has allowed the extension of NATO. Finland shares a long border of over 1,300 kilometers with Russia, and its decision to join NATO was prompted by security concerns following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022. However, Sweden’s application to join NATO has been declined by Turkey and Hungary.
Finland’s membership in NATO has been a topic of discussion for many years, with some arguing that it would help to strengthen Finland’s defense capabilities, while others have expressed concerns about potential tensions with neighboring Russia. With Finland’s membership, NATO now includes most of the countries in Europe and North America.
What is NATO and its History?
NATO, or the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, is an intergovernmental military alliance established in 1949. It was formed as a collective defense pact between North American and European nations to deter Soviet expansion and protect member states from potential Soviet aggression during the Cold War.
The founding members of NATO were the United States, Canada, and ten European nations including Belgium, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, and the United Kingdom. Since then, the alliance has expanded to include 31 member countries.
The organization operates on the principle of collective defense, with members agreeing to mutual defense in response to an attack by an external party. NATO also engages in crisis management, conflict prevention, and peacekeeping operations around the world.
To become a member of NATO, a country must meet the following criteria:
- Political and economic stability: The country must have a stable democratic government, a functioning market economy, and a proven record of respecting human rights and the rule of law.
- Military readiness: The country must have a capable and well-trained military that can contribute to the collective defense of the alliance. This includes a commitment to investing in defense and maintaining modern equipment.
- Commitment to collective defense: The country must be willing and able to contribute to the collective defense of the alliance, including by supporting other member countries in times of need.
- Compatibility with NATO values: The country must share the values of the alliance, including a commitment to democracy, individual liberty, and the rule of law.
- Geographic proximity: While not an official requirement, NATO tends to give preference to countries that are in close geographic proximity to existing members, as this makes it easier to coordinate and deploy forces in times of crisis.
Important takeaways for all competitive exams:
- Finland Prime minister: Sanna Marin;
- Finland Capital: Helsinki;
- Finland Currency: Euro.