Norway approves new NATO members

Sweden and Finland welcomed into defense alliance


Photo: Wiktor Nummelin / NTB
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg holds up Sweden’s and Finland’s signed accession protocols at NATO Headquarters


On July 5, all NATO countries signed the accession protocols to Sweden and Finland, which means that the two countries are closer to becoming member countries.

The protocol to incorporate Sweden and Finland was signed by the 30 member countries of the alliance during a ceremony in Brussels.

With that, Sweden and Finland have formally become “invited members” of NATO. Ratification from the 30 member countries is now open.

The foreign ministers of the two new member states took part in the historic event, as well as the ambassadors of the current members of NATO.

“This is a good day for Finland and Sweden, and a good day for NATO,” said NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg to the press after the agreement was signed.

Six to eight months

“With 32 countries around the table, we will be even stronger, and our people will be even safer in the face of the biggest security crisis in decades,” Stoltenberg continued.

Member states must, however, address the protocol within their political systems, normally their national assemblies. It is a time-consuming process. Sweden and Finland are expected to be full members of NATO in six to eight months.

“We are very grateful for all the strong support our application has received from members of NATO,” said Sweden’s Foreign Minister Ann Linde at the press conference after the signing.

“Together we will be stronger,” said Pek­ka Haavisto, her Finnish colleague.

“An even stronger defense alliance”

“With Sweden and Finland in NATO, we will have an even stronger defense alliance in Europe. It has never been more important. It also means a safer and stronger Nordic region,” said Prime Minister Jonas Gahr Støre (Labor Party) in a press release.

“With the Storting’s earlier consent, I today signed the documents confirming Norway’s support for Finland and Sweden’s membership in NATO, said Foreign Minister Anniken Huitfeldt (Labor Party) on July 5.

“They will be delivered tomorrow to the U.S. State Department, thus completing Norway’s part to approve two new allies. There is clear Nordic support for our neighboring countries to formally become new allies in NATO,” she continued.

Russia reacts

Shortly after the signing took place in Brussels, Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that the Russian Ministry of Defense had plans for measures to ensure the country’s security.

“We have already said many times that there are relevant plans there, and work is being done to ensure our safety,” he said, as reported by the state-controlled Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

Turkey’s veto

The NATO Accession Protocol could have been signed earlier but was delayed by Turkey’s opposition to the two countries’ NATO membership.

In the end, Turkey agreed to lift its veto on Sweden and Finland’s applications in exchange for a series of political concessions from the two countries.

Facts about the NATO agreement between Turkey, Finland, and Sweden

  • Turkey, Finland, and Sweden entered into an agreement in which Turkey accepts that the two Nordic countries join NATO on June 28.
  • The three countries promise cooperation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism. Finland and Sweden promise not to support the Kurdish party PYD and its armed branch YPG. The same applies to the organization that Turkey calls FETÖ. In addition, Finland and Sweden confirm that they view the Kurdish group PKK as an illegal terrorist organization.
  • In the agreement, Finland and Sweden promise that they will not have arms embargoes against Turkey.
  • Finland and Sweden also promise to enter into extradition agreements with Turkey and ensure prompt and thorough processing of existing extradition requests from Turkey related to terror suspects.

This article originally appeared in the July 29, 2022, issue of The Norwegian American.

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NTB (Norsk Telegrambyrå), the Norwegian News Agency, is a press agency and wire service that serves most of the largest Norwegian media outlets. The agency is located in Oslo and has bureaus in Brussels, Belgium, and Tromsø in northern Norway