President Joe Biden signed the U.S. Ratification of Finland and Sweden’s NATO bids on Tuesday, taking NATO expansion to the next level.
According to Biden, the two northern European countries will become “strong, reliable, highly capable new allies” by committing to mutual defense within the US-led transatlantic alliance. To do so, the United States is the 23rd NATO member, and a new member must receive unanimous support from all 30 current members. This brings two Nordic countries closer to NATO membership.
By invading Ukraine, President Vladimir Putin’s Russia shattered peace and security in Europe, Biden said. Adding that Putin thought he could break us apart, the opposite is happening. Three months after the two prosperous Northern European nations applied, more than half of the NATO members have ratified their candidacies. In its 73-year history, this is the fastest expansion of the mutual defense pact between the United States and its European allies.
Despite former President Trump’s moves to upend ties around the world, Biden has praised NATO as the “foundation of American security.” Biden stated that the U.S. remains committed to the alliance. Finland and Sweden, according to Biden, have “strong democratic institutions, strong militaries, and strong and transparent economies” that will now bolster NATO. In seeking to join NATO, Sweden and Finland are committing to Article 5, which states attacks on one are attacks on all.
The U.S. State and Defense Department view these two countries as “security providers,” strengthening NATO’s defense posture in the Baltic region. It is expected that Finland will surpass NATO’s 2% defense spending target in 2022, while Sweden has committed to meeting it.
Biden said that a rare 95-1 vote last week shows the world that “the United States of America can still do great things” with a sense of political unity. The only Senator who voted against Sweden and Finland joining was Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO). Hawley stated that it was in Finland and Sweden’s national security interest to join. He said the question for our nation should be, is it in our interest to do so? He added that it should be about American Security, jobs, and workers, and securing American prosperity, not about creating a liberal work order or nation-building overseas.
Before the signing ceremony, Biden spoke by telephone with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.
The White House announced that Finland and Sweden are nearing NATO membership after the U.S. Senate swiftly ratified their NATO accession protocols.
During the process, President Biden affirmed that the United States would work closely with Finland and Sweden to deter and confront aggression or threats of aggression, the statement said.