by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Klaus Korhonen (ambassador of Finland accredited to NATO) and Axel Wernhoff (ambassador of Sweden accredited to NATO)

  • 18 May. 2022 -
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  • Last updated: 18 May. 2022 08:20

(As delivered)

Ambassadors, dear Klaus, dear Axel, dear friends, good morning!

This is a good day, at a critical moment for our security.
Thank you so much for handing over the applications for Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO.

Every nation has the right to choose its own path.
You have both made your choice, after thorough democratic processes.
And I warmly welcome the requests by Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
You are our closest partners.
And your membership in NATO would increase our shared security.

The applications you have made today are an historic step.
Allies will now consider the next steps on your path to NATO.
The security interests of all Allies have to be taken into account.
And we are determined to work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions.

Over the past few days, we have seen numerous statements by Allies committing to Finland’s and Sweden’s security.
NATO is already vigilant in the Baltic Sea region, and NATO and Allies’ forces will continue to adapt as necessary.

All Allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement.
We all agree that we must stand together.
And we all agree that this is an historic moment, which we must seize.

So thank you, it is great to see you both.