Finnish Parliament approves NATO membership, and application will be submitted together with Sweden on Wednesday

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö (on screen at a government meeting) said the joint request represents “a strong message” that countries Nordics “Face the Future Together”| Photo: EFE/EPA/KIMMO BRANDT

17160457 17160457Sweden and Finland will submit their applications for NATO membership this Wednesday ( ) in Brussels, Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson announced on Tuesday at a joint press conference with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö , who makes an official visit to Stockholm.

“During the day of tomorrow, we will deliver the order to NATO. It’s a strong message and a clear sign that we are facing the future together,” said Niinistö.

The announcement was made hours after the Eduskunta (Finnish parliament) ratified by a large majority the country’s accession to the military alliance.

Andersson emphasized that joining NATO, of which Sweden and Finland are allies but not members, is “the best thing for our security.”

“And doing it at the same time as Finland means that we will contribute to the security from northern Europe”, he added.

In turn, Niinistö spoke in a joint “historical step” and a “triumph” for democracy.

“The 24 of February (the start date of the Russian invasion of Ukraine) it was a day that changed many things, but things had happened before. (Russian President Vladimir) Putin said in late November that NATO could not be expanded, that Sweden and Finland could not be members. That changed everything,” he declared.

“I had a phone conversation with Putin the other day and I was very surprised that he was calm. One might ask why. One reason could be that Russia does not want to tell its people that it has new problems, it is better to say that this was expected”, added the Finnish president.

Sweden and Finland received NATO support as early as Sunday, at an informal meeting of their foreign ministers in Berlin, although Turkey was so critical of their alleged support for Kurdish activists as well as others she considers “terrorists”.

Both Niinistö and Andersson said on Tuesday, however, that they were convinced that dialogue with Ankara could break an impasse that would threaten Sweden and Finland’s entry into the military alliance – as a member, Turkey could veto both requests. 17160457

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