U.S. Senate gives green light for Sweden and Finland to join NATO

Biden says both countries’ membership will “strengthen NATO’s collective security.”

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday approved the applications of Finland and Sweden to join NATO, a decision that received 95 votes in favor and only one against.

Specifically, the measure has been supported by virtually the entire U.S. upper house, with the exception of Republican Senator Josh Hawley of Missouri, who has argued his position ensuring that the United States should focus on containing China rather than expanding the Atlantic Alliance, as reported by ‘The Washington Post’.

Following this, U.S. President Joe Biden expressed his willingness to ratify the accession protocols and stressed that both countries, which he described as “two strong democracies with very capable militaries”, would be welcome “in the greatest defensive alliance in history”.

Biden noted that the Senate “overwhelmingly endorsed” the request of Finland and Sweden and added that “this historic vote sends an important signal of sustained, bipartisan commitment to NATO and to ensuring that the Alliance is prepared to meet the challenges of today and tomorrow.”

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“I thank the members of the Senate (…) for their leadership and for moving the ratification process forward quickly, the fastest in the Senate for a NATO protocol since 1981,” he said. “Finland and Sweden joining the Alliance will strengthen NATO’s collective security and deepen the transatlantic partnership,” he argued.

Therefore, the U.S. president has reiterated that Washington “remains committed to the security of Sweden and Finland.” “We will continue to work to remain vigilant against any threat to our common security and to deter and confront any aggression or threat of aggression,” he added.

With the support of the United States, there are now 20 NATO member countries that have ratified the entry of the two Nordic states into the Alliance, pending the vote of the Parliaments of countries such as Hungary, Turkey or even Spain.

Finland and Sweden had refused for decades to apply for NATO membership, although they have changed their position as a result of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, unleashed on February 24 on the orders of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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Both countries took a further step on July 5 in joining NATO with the signing of their accession protocol, with which they become ‘de facto’ members of the military alliance in the absence of formal ratification. Afterwards, NATO Director General Jens Stoltenberg spoke of a “historic day”.

The accession of Sweden and Finland was unblocked at the Madrid summit on June 29-30, when the leaders invited both candidates, after an agreement was reached in the run-up to the meeting for Turkey to lift its veto in exchange for a greater commitment from the Scandinavian countries in the fight against the terrorist group Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).690176.1.260.149.20220804012857

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