As North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers met in Brussels today, Finland officially became the 31st member of the Alliance.
“On this very day, in 1949, the Washington Treaty, NATO’s founding treaty, was signed in Washington and it is hard to imagine a better way of celebrating our anniversary than to have Finland becoming a full member of the Alliance,” said Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.
Previewing the meetings of foreign ministers, the Secretary General said that allies will address NATO’s support to Ukraine, security challenges emanating from the Middle East and North Africa, the importance of increased defense investments, and the military coalition’s Indo-Pacific partnerships.
In a historic move, Finland officially joined NATO on Tuesday, marking an end to its seven decades of military non-alignment. The country’s flag was unfurled outside NATO’s Brussels headquarters, signifying its membership in the military bloc.
The decision to join NATO was made in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, which has increased tensions between Russia and its neighbors in the region. The move by Finland to join NATO has drawn a strong reaction from Moscow, with threats of “counter-measures.”
The accession of Finland to NATO roughly doubles the length of the border that the military bloc shares with Russia, and strengthens its eastern flank at a time when the war in Ukraine continues with no end in sight. The move is expected to bolster NATO’s military capabilities in the region and provide additional security for its member states.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed Finland’s accession, calling it a “historic day” for both Finland and the military alliance. He also praised Finland’s commitment to peace and security in the region, saying that its membership would contribute to the stability of the entire region.
Finland’s decision to join NATO has been met with mixed reactions from the country’s citizens, with some expressing concern about the potential for a military conflict with Russia.
However, the government has assured its citizens that joining NATO is the best way to ensure the country’s security and independence.
Finland received the green light to join NATO when Turkey ratified the Nordic country’s membership late Thursday, becoming the last country in the 30-member Western military alliance to sign off.
All NATO members must vote unanimously to admit a new country. into the alliance. The decision by the Turkish parliament followed Hungary’s ratification of Finland’s bid earlier in the week.
The addition of Finland, which shares an 833-mile border with Russia, will more than double the size of NATO’s previous border with Russia.
The move by Finland to join NATO is likely to have far-reaching implications for the region and could potentially lead to a further escalation of tensions with Russia.
It remains to be seen how Moscow will react to the new development, but it is clear that the situation in the region is becoming increasingly complex and fraught with uncertainty.