Opening remarks

by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg at the start of the signing ceremony of the Accession Protocols with Finland and Sweden

  • 05 Jul. 2022 -
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  • Last updated: 05 Jul. 2022 14:09

(As delivered)

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

Good morning.
Welcome to this signing ceremony of the accession protocols with Finland and Sweden.
And a special warm welcome to Minister Haavisto and Minister Linde from Finland and Sweden, welcome to you both.

This is truly an historic moment.
For Finland.
For Sweden.
And for NATO.
And for our shared security.
Just over a month ago, Finland and Sweden handed in the official letters of application.
This was followed by weeks of intensive discussions.

There were security concerns that needed to be addressed.
And we did what we always do at NATO.
We found common ground.

Last week in Madrid, Allied leaders agreed to invite Finland and Sweden to join the Alliance, following the agreement of the trilateral memorandum between Türkiye, Finland, and Sweden.

So today, we will formally sign the protocols of accession. This marks the start of the ratification process.

NATO’s door remains open to European democracies who are ready and willing to contribute to our shared security.

This is a good day for Finland and Sweden.
And a good day for NATO.
With 32 nations around the table, we will be even stronger.
And our people will be even safer,
as we face the biggest security crisis in decades.

And now, Minister Haavisto, dear Pekka, you have the floor please.

Foreign Minister of Finland Pekka Haavisto:

Secretary General, ladies and gentlemen

It is my honour to represent Finland today. The Madrid Summit made a historical decision to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of the Alliance.

Yesterday the accession talks were held between NATO and Finland. Today, I am pleased to see the signing of the accession protocol by all NATO allies.

We highly appreciate the support of the Alliance to the membership of Finland and look forward to a swift ratification process.

Over the past 30 years, Finland and NATO have had a long-standing and pragmatic partnership. Finland joined NATO’s Partnership for Peace programme already in 1994.

We have worked together towards a secure Europe. We have done this in close partnership and with a common commitment to enhancing Euro-Atlantic security. Cooperation has brought us closer together and ensured high interoperability.

Together we are stronger. The membership of both Finland and Sweden will not only contribute to our security, but to the collective security of the Alliance.

Finland’s strong defence capability, civil preparedness and resilience will contribute to the strength of the Alliance. Finland has a long tradition of comprehensive approach to security, bringing together various sectors of society, also private sector, to collaborate in maintaining crisis preparedness and resilience. This makes our society resilient.

I am convinced that Finland will contribute in making NATO even stronger – both politically and militarily.

For decades, NATO has been a key actor in advancing European security and stability. A strong and unified NATO is our common security interest also in the future.

The strategic concept accepted at the Madrid Summit will pave the way for the future of the alliance. Further strengthening NATO’s defence and deterrence will increase security and stability in Europe.

Our collective security requires a 360 degrees approach: From the Arctic to the South. Global security developments, including in the South, increasingly affect our security and call on us to enhance security in the neighborhood. Terrorism is a serious threat to us all.

Secretary-General, ladies and gentlemen,

We look forward to safeguarding a secure and prosperous Euro-Atlantic region together with our NATO allies.

Together we are stronger in defending the rules-based international order and the principles of democracy, freedom and rule of law.

Thank you.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

Thank you so much, Pekka, then I give the floor to Minister Linde, dear Ann, please, you have the floor.

Foreign Minister of Sweden Ann Linde:

Dear all,
This is a historic day for Sweden and Finland. We are here to participate in the North Atlantic Council meeting where the Ambassadors of all NATO allies will sign the Swedish and Finnish Accession Protocols. This will grant Sweden and Finland status as NATO invitees.

We are tremendously grateful for the strong support that our accession has received from the Allies as reflected in last week’s Madrid Summit Declaration. Today’s signing will be a confirmation of this support.

The signing of the Accession Protocols will be an important step on our path towards full NATO membership. The next phase will be the process of ratification in each of the Allied countries.

As a future member of the Alliance, Sweden will contribute to the security of all Allies. We are convinced that our membership will strengthen NATO and add to the stability in the Euro-Atlantic area.
Thank you!

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg:

Thank you so much to both of you. This ends the public part of this meeting, and we will continue in just a second.