Sweden, Finland Closer to NATO membership> US Department of Defense> News from the Department of Defense
During a ceremony in Brussels, NATO ambassadors today signed the accession protocols that will move Finland and Sweden one step closer to joining the alliance.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said it was a historic day “for Finland, for Sweden, for NATO and for Euro-Atlantic security. ”
The Accession Protocols are now being moved to the Alliance’s 30 member nations for national ratification according to the procedures of the various nations. In the United States, this means that the Senate must approve the addition of these countries to the 1949 Washington Treaty.
For decades, Sweden and Finland were content to work with NATO, but not become members of the Defense Alliance. But Russia’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February moved the ground in Europe, and these nations – both historically neutral – demanded to join NATO. At last week’s NATO summit in Madrid, the allied leaders agreed to invite Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.
“Finland and Sweden will make strong and important contributions to our alliance,” Stoltenberg said after the ceremony.
He noted that years of training and training together have increased the interoperability between Finnish and Swedish forces with NATO, and the nations share the same values as the other members of the alliance.
“I commend all the Allies for accepting Finland’s and Sweden’s membership applications so quickly, and I would like to thank Turkey, Finland and Sweden for their constructive attitude,” said the Secretary-General. “The trilateral agreement they signed at the Madrid summit made possible today.”
Finland shares a long border with Russia and Sweden is located across the Baltic Sea from Russia. There are concerns about the measures that Russian President Vladimir Putin can take against the nations. “Security in Finland and Sweden is important for our alliance, even during the ratification process,” said Stoltenberg. “Many allies have already made clear commitments for the security of Finland and Sweden, and NATO has increased our presence in the region, including with more exercises.”
The signing of the document means that Finland and Sweden will have the status of “invited” and will participate in alliance discussions.
Sweden has a world-class military and will contribute to the security of all NATO allies. “We are convinced that our membership will strengthen NATO and increase stability in the Euro-Atlantic area,” said Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde. “We will do our part to contribute to NATO’s collective defense shoulder to shoulder with the other allies.”
Linde said that the decision to join NATO has enormous support in her country, “and we believe that joining NATO is the best way for Sweden to ensure our national security and keep the Swedish people safe.”
Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said his country was looking forward to working closely with other NATO allies. “Membership in both Finland and Sweden will not only contribute to their own security, but to the collective security of the alliance,” he said.