The Finnish parliament has approved an application for the country to join NATO. MEPs ended a two-day debate on Tuesday. With the application, Finland is reacting to a changed security situation caused by the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine.
The Foreign Affairs Committee in the Finnish Parliament had previously strongly recommended an application for membership. “Russia’s longstanding aggressive policy and goal of dividing Europe into new spheres of influence took on a new dimension after the country’s invasion of Ukraine,” the press release said. Not responding would compromise Finland’s security.
Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde signed her country’s NATO membership application on Tuesday. “Our NATO application is now officially signed,” Linde wrote on Twitter. This will now be sent to NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as soon as Finland has signed an application.
The two countries, which decided to apply for membership in the military alliance under the impression of the Russian war of aggression in Ukraine, want to submit their membership applications together. Finland’s President Sauli Niinistö and the Finnish government have already decided to submit an application.
The Swedish government made the final decision on the NATO membership application on Monday. “It feels big, it feels serious, it feels like we’ve ended up doing what we think is best for Sweden,” Linde said on Tuesday.
Sweden’s King Carl XVI. On Tuesday, Gustaf stressed his country’s intention to join NATO “simultaneously and in agreement with Finland”. “This is a historic step that we are taking side by side with our brother country,” he said at a press conference with Finnish President Niinistö in Stockholm on Tuesday. Niinistö had previously arrived in the Swedish capital for a two-day state visit.
The challenges posed by Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine meant “opportunities for consensus and deeper cooperation to stand together even more,” the monarch said. Niinistö added: “Our security policy line has been a similar one for a long time. And even now, when the situation requires it, we are taking our steps together.”