Sweden and Finland To Apply To Join NATO Together
May 17, 2022 (EIRNS)—Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced at a joint press conference in Stockholm, today, that their governments would apply together for NATO membership at the military alliance’s headquarters in Brussels on May 18. “Previously, both [Finland and Sweden] and Russia thought that our non-alignment contributed to stability, but when Russia said that we weren’t allowed to apply for NATO membership, that changed,” Niinistö claimed, reported the Yle broadcaster. “It meant that we had to do something, and after February 24 ... it became clear what we needed to do.”
Andersson said, “Membership strengthens security for Sweden and the Baltic Sea region. The fact that we are doing this together means that we can contribute to security in northern Europe and take part in comprehensive Nordic cooperation,”
The joint announcement followed a 188-8 vote today by the Finnish parliament to approve the government’s decision to seek NATO membership for Finland. The vote followed a 14-hour debate on May 16, during which members delivered 212 speeches. Parliament’s approval means that the President and government are now able to put the official application process into motion, possibly as soon as later on May 17, reported the Yle broadcaster. Yle reported that Paris, and all three Baltic states, along with Denmark, Norway, and Iceland, have also all issued statements supporting Finnish membership in NATO.
In Stockholm today, Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde signed the country’s application to join NATO one day after Sweden announced that it would join Finland in launching a bid to join the alliance. “It feels like we have taken a decision that is the best for Sweden,” the Associated Press quoted Linde as saying after signing the document.