Finland wants to become a NATO member. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced in Helsinki on Sunday that the country will submit an application to be included in the military alliance. The Finnish parliament still has to approve the step, a majority is considered safe.

Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock (Greens) had previously promised Sweden and Finland rapid admission to NATO. Germany would ratify the two countries’ entry into the alliance “very, very quickly,” said Baerbock on Sunday morning on the sidelines of informal consultations with her NATO colleagues in Berlin. The federal government has already held talks with “all democratic parties”.

Numerous other NATO countries have also promised a rapid ratification process, said Baerbock. She emphasized that there should not be a “hang-up” following an application for membership by Sweden and Finland.

“NATO is an alliance that focuses on defense and will always remain so,” said Baerbock. “But it’s also an open-door alliance and that’s why we welcome Finland and Sweden if their parliaments, if their societies, decide to do so.”

She certified that Russian President Vladimir Putin had “pushed” Sweden and Finland into NATO with his war of aggression against Ukraine.

The Finnish government recently announced that it intends to apply for NATO membership. Sweden also wants to decide soon on a similar step. Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde and Finland’s Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto are guests at the informal consultations of NATO ministers in Berlin.

After decades of military alliance neutrality, Sweden and Finland joining NATO would be a turning point for both countries. In particular, Russia responded to the announcement by its neighbor Finland with criticism and threats. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Russia would “definitely” see Finland’s NATO membership as a threat.