A historic day for Finland and NATO
Press release | Date: 04/04/2023 | Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Defence, Office of the Prime Minister
‘We welcome Finland as a member of NATO. This is a historic day for Nordic and European security. Finnish membership will strengthen not only Finland’s security, but also Nordic security and NATO as a whole,’ said Norwegian Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre.
Today the Finnish flag will be raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels, marking that Finland’s instrument of accession has been deposited with the Government of the United States. It is fitting that this is taking place on NATO Day, which commemorates the signing of the North Atlantic Treaty in Washington on 4 April 1949. Minister of Foreign Affairs Halvard Lange took part in the signing 74 years ago on behalf of Norway as one of the 12 founding members. Today, Finland became the 31st member of the Alliance.
‘Due to the war in Ukraine, our collective security has become even more crucial to the member countries. There is strong unity within the Alliance. This is essential in a challenging security policy situation where there is a war of aggression in Europe,’ said Minister of Foreign Affairs Anniken Huitfeldt.
For the first time, Finland’s foreign minister will be taking part at the meeting of NATO Ministers of Foreign Affairs on 4–5 April as a full-fledged NATO member.
‘It is our hope that Sweden, too, will become a member as soon as possible. It fulfils all the requirements for full NATO membership and will strengthen the Alliance as a whole, from north to south,’ said Ms Huitfeldt. In the transitional period before approval for membership, Norway and a number of other Allied countries have provided Sweden with security guarantees.
Finland and Sweden have developed close cooperation with NATO and the Allied countries in recent years. As a member of NATO, Finland will be incorporated into NATO planning processes.
‘With Finland in NATO we will be able to cooperate in a new way. Finland has strong defence forces that will significantly enhance the Alliance. That will enable us to work together more closely and make better use of the military capacity we have in the Nordic region and in NATO. There is also great potential to further advance operational cooperation between the Nordic countries within an Allied framework. We look forward to welcoming Sweden into the NATO family as soon as possible. Finnish and Swedish membership of NATO will strengthen Norwegian and Allied security alike,’ said Minister of Defence Bjørn Arild Gram.