“Finland has today become the 31st member of NATO. The era of military non-alignment in our history has come to an end. A new era begins”, said President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö at the accession ceremony held at NATO Headquarters in Brussels on 4 April.
Finland deposited its instrument of accession to the North Atlantic Treaty with the US State Department on Tuesday afternoon. The deposit was made by Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto. The flag-raising ceremony marking Finland’s accession to NATO was held after the deposit. Minister of Defence Antti Kaikkonen also attended the flag-raising ceremony.
Each country maximizes its own security
In his speech, the President said that each country maximizes its own security. NATO membership strengthens Finland’s international position and room for manoeuvre: “Finland, committed to the security of all NATO member states, will be a reliable ally that strengthens regional stability.”
The President said that Finland’s membership is not targeted against anyone, and it does not change the foundations or objectives of Finland’s foreign and security policy. “The principles and values that are important to Finland will continue to guide our foreign policy also in the future.”
Even though we have developed our NATO compatibility, according to President Niinistö, there is still considerable work ahead to integrate Finland’s defence as part of NATO’s common defence.
“It is clear that Finland’s most significant contribution to NATO’s collective deterrence and defence is built on the security and defence of our own territory. In this respect, the Finnish concept of comprehensive security retains its value. But we no longer do this work alone.”
The President stressed that Finland’s membership is not complete without that of Sweden. “Our persistent efforts for a rapid Swedish membership will continue. I look forward to seeing Sweden join us as the 32nd member at the Vilnius Summit in July.”
“Now we can get to work for our common security. Together we are stronger.”