European countries welcome Finland's accession to NATO

World
Wed, 5 Apr 2023 6:18 GMT
With Nordic country’s accession, length of NATO’s border with Russia has nearly doubled.
European countries welcome Finland's accession to NATO

European countries congratulated Finland for officially becoming the 31st member state of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) at a ceremony Tuesday at the military alliance’s headquarters in Brussels.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz congratulated Finland on joining NATO, stressing that its membership will make the alliance stronger.

"Finland is now a member of NATO – this is good news and a gain for transatlantic security,” Scholz said on Twitter, reaffirming his government’s support for Sweden’s membership bid.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock described Finland’s membership as an historic day for NATO.

The British government welcomed Finland and expressed its hopes to see Sweden quickly follow suit.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly, in Brussels to attend a two-day meeting of NATO foreign ministers, said: "Today will go into the history books for NATO as a defensive Alliance. 31 countries strong, we welcome Finland to the table.”

"Our northern neighbour is now also our neighbour at the #NATO table...This is monumental for the security of the Baltic Sea region and the whole Alliance," Estonian Prime Minister Kaja Kallas said on Twitter.

In Brussels, Estonian Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu said: "The Baltic Sea is literally becoming a NATO sea." He said he also wishes to see Ukraine join the alliance one day.

"Welcome to NATO, Finland! I hope we will welcome our Swedish friends very soon, too," French President Emmanuel Macron wrote on Twitter.

French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna also congratulated Finland and her Finnish counterpart Pekka Haavisto on Twitter.

Spanish Foreign Minister Jose Manuel Albares said he hopes Sweden will become a NATO member soon, adding the accessions of Finland and Sweden will contribute to the consolidation of a more secure Euro-Atlantic area.

Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom congratulated Finland and expressed his pleasure for its accession to NATO.

Dutch Foreign Minister Wopke Hoekstra said it is "fantastic" to welcome Finland into NATO.

"The accession of #Finland will strengthen our Alliance. One in, one to go. I look forward to welcoming Sweden soon as well," he wrote on Twitter.

Polish Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said: "From today, the alliance is made up of 31 countries. Strong partners provide a guarantee of security for Poland, our region and the whole world."

Italy's permanent delegation to NATO welcomed Finland, saying this membership confirms "NATO's crucial role" for maintaining freedom and security as well as making Finland and NATO safer.

Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias, who was among the diplomats attending the flag-raising ceremony at NATO headquarters in Brussels, said "the Alliance is growing stronger."

Belgian Foreign Minister Hadja Lahbib said Finland’s membership “reinforces collective defense and cooperation in today's highly complex security environment.”

Croatia's Prime Minister Andrej Plenkovic said this is a "historic day" for the alliance, adding he hopes they will be able to welcome Sweden as a new alliance member as well.

Romanian Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu also attended the flag-raising ceremony and congratulated Finland, saying they are looking forward to working together for the defense of NATO’s eastern flank.

On Twitter, Portugal’s Prime Minister Antonio Costa said: “Finland’s accession to @NATO is the best way to mark our Alliance’s 74th anniversary.”

Albanian Foreign Minister Olta Xhacka said the accession benefits "all of us," adding "Sweden can count on us!"

After the Russia-Ukraine war began in February last year, Finland decided to abandon its decades-long military non-alignment and applied for NATO membership.

With Finland’s accession, the length of NATO’s border with Russia has nearly doubled.

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