The United States has given its formal approval for Finland and Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. On August 9, President Joe Biden signed the U.S. Instruments of Ratification, making the United States the 23rd NATO nation to approve the two Nordic countries’ application to join the strongest, most powerful defensive alliance in the world.
Leaving behind their long-standing tradition of neutrality, Finland and Sweden sought to join NATO in May in the wake of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked and brutal war on Ukraine.
“Putin thought he could break us apart,” said President Biden, “in my view, weaken our resolve. Instead, he’s getting exactly what he did not want.”
President Biden urged remaining NATO Allies who have not yet ratified the two countries’ accession to NATO to do so quickly. “Finland and Sweden have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries, and strong and transparent economies. They’ll meet every NATO requirement…and make our Alliance stronger.”
President Biden noted the two countries’ bids for membership in NATO had overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate, as was shown in the Senate vote on August 3. He said that support sent a message: “Together with our Allies and partners, we’re going to write the future we want to see. And in a moment when Putin’s Russia has shattered peace and security in Europe, when autocrats are challenging the very foundations of a rule-based order, the strength of the Transatlantic alliance and America’s commitment to NATO is more important than it has ever been.”
President Biden pointed out that in seeking to join NATO, Finland and Sweden are making a “sacred commitment” to the core of the NATO Alliance – Article 5, which commits each member state to mutual defense: that an attack against one member is an attack against all members.
“Today we see all too clearly how NATO remains an indispensable Alliance for the world of today and the world of tomorrow,” President Biden declared. “When Finland and Sweden bring the number of allies to 32, we’ll be stronger than ever. And this will benefit all our people.”