On Tuesday, 4 April Finland will become the 31st member of NATO, Jens Stoltenberg, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said at a press conference in Brussels on Monday, ahead of the two-day meeting of foreign ministers of member states. Stoltenberg announced that the Finnish flag will be raised on Tuesday afternoon at NATO’s headquarters in Brussels.
The Secretary General emphasised that with Finland’s accession, NATO will become stronger, and as Finland becomes a safer place through membership, the security environment of Sweden, also waiting to be admitted to NATO, will also improve and bring the country closer to full integration. ‘[Accession day] will be a good day for the security of Finland, the security of the northern countries, and of the entire NATO,’ he said.
He highlighted that last year, the Allies made a historic decision when they invited Finland and Sweden to join NATO. The Secretary General expressed hope that, similarly to Finland’s ratification process, a fast decision will be made by every member country for Sweden’s accession as well. ‘Every ally agrees that Sweden’s accession must be completed quickly,’ Stoltenberg stated, adding that this is in the interest of NATO and of the entire North Atlantic community.
He announced that Turkey, which was the last country to ratify Finland’s membership, will hand over the official ratification documents on Tuesday in the presence of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. After that, Finland will also deposit its ratification documents, the Secretary General informed. He remarked that Finland’s accession shows that NATO’s door is open, and that
Moscow does not decide who can join NATO and who cannot.
There can be no aggression against Sweden without a military alliance response, Stoltenberg declared.
The last round of NATO enlargement took place on 27 March 2020, when the representatives of North Macedonia deposited their country’s ratification documents for accession to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation at the United States Department of State.
NATO was founded on 4 April 1949, in Washington, during the Cold War arms race. The founding members included the United States, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Iceland, Canada, Luxembourg, Norway, Italy, and Portugal. Hungary, along with the Czech Republic and Poland, joined the military alliance in 1999. NATO’s main objectives include using all political and military means to preserve the freedom and security of member countries. NATO considers any attack against any member as aggression against all members.