Finland’s membership will make alliance stronger: NATO Gen Secy

31 March, 2023 | Pragati Singh

NATO World

NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg is heard welcoming and praising Finland.

The General Secretary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) stated on Friday that Finland’s participation will enhance the intergovernmental military alliance and that the organization hopes to welcome Sweden as a full member soon. In a video uploaded by NATO Spokesperson Oana Lungescu’s official Twitter account, NATO General Secretary Jens Stoltenberg is heard welcoming and praising Finland.

Stoltenberg said, “I welcome the vote by the Turkish Grand National Assembly to ratify Finland’s membership in NATO. All 30 NATO allies have now ratified the accession protocol.”

“And I have just spoken with President Sauli Niinisto to congratulate him on this historic occasion,” Stoltenberg said.

“Finland will formally join our alliance in the coming days. The membership will make Finland safer and NATO stronger. Finland has highly capable forces, advanced capabilities, and strong democratic institutions. So Finland will bring a lot to our alliance,” NATO General Secretary said.

He said, “All allies made a historic decision last year to invite Finland and Sweden to join our alliance. Since then, we have seen the fastest ratification process in NATO’s modern history. All allies agree that a rapid conclusion of the ratification process for Sweden will be in everyone’s interest. I look forward to also welcoming Sweden as a full member of the NATO family as soon as possible.”

On March 30, the Turkish Parliament voted unanimously in favor of Finland’s NATO membership application, eliminating the final hurdle in the process but continuing to oppose Sweden’s membership.
According to CNN, Ankara’s decision fulfills Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s “promise” to enable Finland to join the military alliance. Finland’s entrance was approved by Turkey as the final NATO member.

Following the vote, Finnish President Sauli Niinisto said his country is “ready to join NATO.” He further said, “All 30 NATO members have now ratified Finland’s membership. I want to thank every one of them for their trust and support,” according to a CNN report.

Niinisto stressed that “Finland will be a strong and capable ally, committed to the security of the Alliance.” As per the news report, he said, “We look forward to welcoming Sweden to join us as soon as possible.”

NATO Secretary-General Stoltenberg welcomed the decision of Turkey. Taking to his official Twitter handle, Stoltenberg stated, “I welcome the vote of the Grand National Assembly of #Turkiye to complete the ratification of #Finland’s accession. This will make the whole #NATO family stronger & safer.”

Finland and Sweden submitted NATO membership applications in 2022. Apart from Turkey and Hungary, the majority of NATO members supported the two Nordic countries’ applications.

Erdogan accused Finland and Sweden of harboring Kurdish “terrorist organizations.” Similarly, according to CNN, Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban stated that Finland and Sweden were spreading “outright lies” about his country’s rule of law record.

Subsequently, the two countries softened their opposition to Finland’s entrance. Nonetheless, Hungary and Turkey continue to oppose Sweden’s accession to NATO. The Hungarian Parliament approved Finland’s proposal by a vote of 182 to six on Monday. Hungarian government spokesperson Zoltan Kovacs said on Wednesday that there are “ample issues that need to be resolved” before Hungary will endorse Sweden’s NATO membership bid.