Finland officially joining NATO on Tuesday

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"Flagpole waiting for the Finnishing touch at NATO HQ." April 3, 2023. Source: Andrew Gray/Twitter

Finland will officially be joining NATO as the 31st member of the alliance on Tuesday, the Office of the President of the Republic of Finland and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced Monday. Finland's flag-raising ceremony will be held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday afternoon.

"It will be a good day for Finland's security, for Nordic security and for NATO as a whole," Stoltenberg said, welcoming Finland's imminent accession in a live press conference.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announcing at a press conference Monday that Finland will officially be joining NATO on Tuesday. April 3, 2023. Source: NATO

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö will be traveling to Brussels to attend the accession and flag-raising ceremony on Tuesday, the Office of the President said.

Finnish Minister of Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto will deposit Finland's instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the U.S. State Department in Brussels. A flag-raising ceremony will follow at NATO Headquarters, marking Finland's official accession to the alliance.

Also joining Niinistö and Haavisto at the ceremony will be Finnish Minister of Defense Antti Kaikkonen.

The ceremony will be immediately followed by a two-day meeting of allied foreign ministers, according to NATO's updated agenda for Tuesday.

At the allied foreign ministers' meeting to follow, NATO members will address Russia's illegal war against Ukraine and are expected to agree to start work on developing a multiyear support program. They will also discuss threats and challenges from the south, the importance of increased defense investment as well as China's growing alignment with Russia.

NATO's Indo-Pacific partners and the EU will also join the alliance's member states for a discussion on the global consequences of Russia's ongoing war against Ukraine.

Estonia among first to ratify

NATO ambassadors signed the accession protocols for Finland and Sweden together at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on Tuesday, July 5 last year.

A day later, the Riigikogu ratified them at an extraordinary sitting with 79 votes.

Canada was the first NATO member state to ratify the two countries' protocols, doing so later on Tuesday already. Denmark, Norway and Iceland all likewise preceded Estonia in ratifying them as well, however, as noted by EKRE MP and Foreign Affairs Committee member Henn Põlluaas at the extraordinary Riigikogu sitting on July 6, all it took in those four countries to do so was a government decision.

With that Wednesday's vote, Estonia became the first NATO member state to ratify Finland and Sweden's accession to NATO specifically via parliament.

Together with Bulgaria, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia, Estonia itself officially joined NATO on March 29, 2004.


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Editor: Aili Vahtla

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