German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht addresses MPs during a session of the Bundestag (lower house of parliament) on July 8, 2022 in Berlin. (Photo by Tobias SCHWARZ / AFP)

The Bundestag approved the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO by a large majority. The factions of the SPD, the Greens, the FDP and the Union voted in favor of expanding the transatlantic alliance to the north on Friday in Berlin. The AfD parliamentary group largely agreed, the left against.

Defense Minister Christine Lambrecht emphasized that Russian President Vladimir Putin has so far achieved exactly the opposite of what he actually wanted with his war of aggression against Ukraine. “The West, which he despises so much, is getting stronger, not weaker,” said the SPD politician in the parliamentary debate. After the Bundestag, the Bundesrat must also agree to the NATO accession of the two northern countries, which was still expected in the course of the morning.

This would make Germany the first NATO country to ratify the admission of Finland and Sweden to the alliance. “Germany is sending an important signal of solidarity and reliability,” said Lambrecht. She emphasized that with the admission of the two EU states to the alliance, the balance of power would also shift: “Europe’s strength will increase and the US will be relieved.”