by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg with Finland’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Pekka Haavisto, and Defence Minister, Antti Kaikkonen
Good afternoon, Foreign Minister Haavisto, dear Pekka and Defence Minister Kaikkonen, dear Antti.
Welcome back to the NATO Headquarters. It is always a great pleasure to see you here.
I have to admit that it will be an even greater pleasure to welcome you as full members soon, full members of the NATO Alliance.
Therefore, I welcome the announcement by Türkiye that they will now move forward on the ratification of Finnish membership.
And I hope that the Grand National Assembly in Ankara can make a speedy decision on the ratification.
I also welcome the Hungarian announcement that they will vote on Finnish ratification next week.
Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership together.
And all NATO Allies invited Finland and Sweden to join our Alliance at our Summit last year.
But of course, the most important thing is that both Finland and Sweden become members as soon as possible.
Not that they join exactly the same time.
We welcome the progress which is now made on finalising the ratification of Finland.
And we will continue to work hard. It will be a top priority to ensure that also Sweden will become a full member in the near future.
President Putin invaded Ukraine with the declared goal of having less NATO in Europe.
He is getting exactly the opposite. There will be more NATO in Europe, demonstrated by the fact that both Finland and Sweden applied and are invited to become full members.
And when Finland joins, NATO’s border with Russia will more than double with 1300 kilometres more border between NATO and Russia.
Finland and Sweden are already in a much better position now, than before you applied because when you were invited, you got a new status in the relationship with NATO.
Finland and Sweden participate in NATO meetings, sit at the NATO table, are integrating into NATO’s civilian and military structures.
Many Allies have given security assurances to both Finland and Sweden.
So it is absolutely inconceivable that there will be any threat against Finland or Sweden without NATO reacting.
I will look very much forward to having you as full members.
I hope that that can happen very, very soon. Then we will continue to work hard to also get Sweden in as soon as possible.
So welcome to both of you. It is good to have you here, and please.