A picture taken on November 20, 2019 shows a NATO flag at the NATO headquarters in Brussels during a NATO Foreign Affairs Ministers' summit. KENZO TRIBOUILLARD AFP HELSINKI - Finland and Sweden will express their wish to join NATO in May, according to tabloid newspapers Iltalehti in Finland and Expressen in Sweden, citing sources close to the matter.
The leaders of Finland and Sweden plan to meet on May 16 and announce their plans to join the alliance after that, according to Iltalehti.
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto declined to comment, but repeated his longstanding view that he would prefer Finland and Sweden made similar choices.
Swedish daily Aftonbladet reported separately, citing sources close to Swedish government offices, that the United States and Britain had promised Sweden increased military presence, more in-depth military exercises and'strong political' support from NATO countries during a possible NATO application process.
The Swedish foreign ministry didn't comment on Expressen's and Aftonbladet's reports.
Finland's Prime Minister Sanna Marin said two weeks ago while visiting her Swedish counterpart Magdalena Andersson, she expected Finland to make its decision on whether to apply for NATO membership within a few weeks.
Stockholm is looking at NATO membership, and will have a view on that, with the results due by mid-May.
Sweden's Social Democrats are reviewing their long-held objection to NATO membership. That is expected to be done by May 24.