Photos: Stenbock House lit up blue and white for Finland's NATO accession

Finland officially became NATO's 31st and newest member on Tuesday, the 74th anniversary of the founding of the alliance. To mark the occasion, the outward facade of Stenbock House, the seat of the Estonian government overlooking Tallinn Bay and the Gulf of Finland, was lit up with Finland's siniristilippu, or Blue Cross Flag, after sunset Tuesday night.

Also projected on the northward-facing facade were photos of milestone events of Estonia and Finland's bilateral relations throughout the years, according to a press release.

"Estonia's national defense stands on three strong pillars — the defense resolve of our people, our state's defense capability and our secure place under the NATO umbrella," Minister of Defense Hanno Pevkur (Reform) said Tuesday, adding that this common allied umbrella is stronger and more united than ever.

"Today's NATO Day is made all the more special by the fact that we can welcome a new and — for us — very special member state into NATO — our good friend and northern neighbor Finland," he highlighted.

According to Prime Minister Kaja Kallas (Reform), Finland's accession to NATO was a historic moment for Estonia's northern neighbors themselves, the entire Baltic Sea region as well as the alliance more broadly.

"This is an important day for Estonia as well," she continued. "Estonia and Finland have always been close friends; now we are also allies in NATO. This will strengthen both our common security and the security of the entire Euro-Atlantic region. Finland's membership in NATO also means that we will have new opportunities to deepen our bilateral defense cooperation. Cooperation between Estonia and Finland is closer than ever before."

The facade of Stenbock House, the seat of the Estonian government, lit up with the FInnish flag in honor of Finland's accession to NATO on Tuesday, with the iconic towers of Tallinn's Old Town visible in the background. April 4, 2023 Source: Kaupo Kalda

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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