Is Finland taking a step closer to NATO membership?

The Finnish Government agreed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with NATO on 22 April 2014, which some commentators are suggesting represents a key step towards NATO membership. The MoU, which has not been released to the public, is believed to be similar to the military interoperability deal to which Sweden has also subscribed. 

While the Finnish Government is playing down speculation that the agreement marks the beginning of a process toward full NATO membership, it does agree that the MoU “represents a landmark shift in Finland’s traditional defence policy of non-alignment and self-reliance”. This briefing (see pdf below) takes a closer look at how elite opinion in Finland views this latest development, as well as some of the key geo-political drivers for the policy shift.