Thursday, May 19

Sweden and Finland ask the EU to activate the mutual defense clause in the event of an attack by Putin

The text is written in brusselsian. But it responds to an express request from Sweden and Finland, accepted by the rest of the community partners. “Knowing the specific nature of the defense and security policy of some Member States, we will continue to bet on mutual assistance under article 42 (7) of the EU Treaty,” says the paragraph agreed by the 27.

In other words, those EU countries neighboring Russia that are not in NATO, where Article 5 decrees that the Alliance will defend any of its members attacked, Sweden and Finland ask the EU to be prepared in the event that Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to cross his borders with his armies, according to El País and has been able to confirm

The day after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine began, Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has warned Finland and Sweden of “harmful military and political consequences” if they attempt to join NATO. This was expressed by Zakharova at a press conference in Moscow on February 25, in which she assured that this step could lead to a serious response from Russia.

“We consider the Finnish government’s commitment to a policy of military non-alignment as an important factor in guaranteeing security and stability in northern Europe,” said the head of Foreign Affairs, in statements collected by The Guardian.

The clause demanded by Stockholm and Helsinki appears since 2009 in section 7 of article 42 of the Treaty of the European Union. It establishes that the countries of the European Union (EU) have the obligation to help each other if one of them “is the object of armed aggression on its territory.” This support attempts to be consistent with possible commitments within the framework of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).

No formal procedure has been defined and the article does not make it explicit that the aid must be military, which allows the participation of neutral countries such as Austria, Finland, Ireland and Sweden.

France invoked the mutual assistance clause on November 17, 2015 as a result of the attacks it suffered and, since then, has maintained bilateral contacts with the other EU countries to identify what kind of help is possible. Some countries expressed their willingness to join operations against terrorists in Syria and Iraq. Others were willing to increase their presence in other international missions, which would allow French troops to be deployed in other areas.

The EU states would have to specify and agree bilaterally on the type of aid available. The EU plays a limited role, but could catalyze and coordinate the process.

MEPs adopted a resolution in 2016 stating that the activation of the clause offered “an opportunity to prepare the ground for a strong and sustainable European Defense Union”.