Alexander Stubb, who was PM from 2014-15, says the Finnish president will announce Finland’s intention to join tomorrow, followed by an announcement from the government over the weekend, and a joint statement from Finland and Sweden early next week.
He says there is “overwhelming support” in Finland for joining the alliance, citing a poll from Tuesday which showed 76% in favour and 12% against – a big swing from pre-invasion figures.
“The only person we can thank is Putin, he’s the reason we’re joining,” he says.
He says Finland is “not at all” worried about Russia’s threat of “a military-technical response” if it becomes a member.
“They’ve always been like that,” he says, adding that when Iceland, Denmark and Norway joined in 1949 “the rhetoric was similar”.
He warns, however, that during the “grey zone” of the membership application process – until Nato security guarantees come into effect – there may be Russian intimidation, cyber attacks and disinformation.
But he says Finland and Sweden have some of the largest armies in Europe, and that their leaders have been collecting security assurances from the US, UK, Germany and France.
“We feel very safe in this situation, not really worried about it at all,” he says.
UK will support whatever Sweden decides on Nato – Johnson
Asked what happens if Sweden needs help in the “grey zone” after it applies to join Nato but before it is accepted, Johnson says there’s a “separate conversation going on” about Sweden’s Nato membership and joining the alliance is “a matter for Sweden”.
Sweden is yet to announce whether it has decided to apply for Nato membership or not.
Johnson says the UK will “support whatever of course of action Sweden decides to embark upon” regarding membership.
He also says that “in the event of a disaster or an attack upon Sweden, the UK would come to the assistance of Sweden with whatever Sweden requested”.
Swedish PM Andersson says the pact could include military support in times of crisis.
Johnson also says it’s important that Sweden is giving the same support to the UK in the declaration they have just signed – describing the pact as an important “paving stone for developing relations in the future”.