31 March: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced on Friday that Finland would become a full member of the alliance in the next few days, after its president completed the final step to join.
“I look forward to raising Finland’s flag at NATO HQ in the coming days. Together we are stronger and safer,” Stoltenberg tweeted. Finland’s membership was delayed for months by Turkiye, which was the last NATO country to approve its application on Thursday.
Stoltenberg praised Finland for its “highly capable forces, advanced capabilities, and strong democratic institutions.” “So Finland will bring a lot to our alliance,” he said. NATO foreign ministers are meeting in Brussels next week, where they are expected to formalize Finland’s membership.
Finland and Sweden decided to seek NATO membership after Russia invaded Ukraine last year, disrupting European security and ending their long-standing neutrality. However, Sweden’s application is still pending, due to opposition from Turkiye and Hungary.
But Stoltenberg insisted that “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,” he said.