On February 16, 2023 at Carleton University, His Excellency Roy Eriksson, the Ambassador of Finland to Canada, joined the Centre for European Studies for an EU Policy Talk on “Finland’s Choice to Apply for NATO Membership”. The audience of about 50 people included the general public, Carleton faculty and alumni, students, local Embassy members and various government employees.

H.E. Eriksson provided the audience with a brief overview of Finland’s history, from its defence role in the Winter War against the USSR to Finland’s accession into the European Union in 1995. The presentation continued with understanding the existing Finland-NATO relationship that began in 1940 following the signing of the peace treaty marking the end of the Winter War. In 1944, Finland furthered its relationship with NATO by entering the Partnership Program. While the relationship between Finland and NATO remained strong, before Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24, 2022, less than 30% of the Finnish population supported Finland applying for NATO membership. Following the invasion, the support for NATO membership increased to 62% among the population in Finland.

Upon Finland’s initial membership application to NATO, Canada was the first to ratify its accession. Today, Finland’s accession to NATO membership is dependent upon Hungary and Turkey’s ratification of its membership.

To view His Excellency’s presentation slides available and read more about the history of Finland, visit here.

Find more information on the Embassy of Finland in Ottawa and the current affairs of Finland at the Embassy’s website here.

As part of the EU Policy Talk series, the Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence publishes a series of EU Policy Briefs from experts and scholars which address prominent policy issues facing the EU-Canada relationship. The EU Policy Briefs are available to read here.