Statement by President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö on Finland’s NATO membership

Office of the President of the Republic of Finland
Press release 11/2023
4 April 2023

Finland has today become a member of the defence alliance NATO. The era of military non-alignment in our history has come to an end. A new era begins.

Each country maximizes its own security. So does Finland. At the same time, NATO membership strengthens our international position and room for manoeuvre. As a partner, we have long actively participated in NATO activities. In the future, Finland will make a contribution to NATO’s collective deterrence and defence.

Membership of the Alliance provides security for Finland. Finland, on the other hand, provides security for the Alliance. Finland, committed to the security of all NATO member states, will be a reliable ally that strengthens regional stability.

Finland’s membership is not targeted against anyone. Nor does it change the foundations or objectives of Finland’s foreign and security policy. Finland is a stable and predictable Nordic country that seeks peaceful resolution of disputes. The principles and values that are important to Finland will continue to guide our foreign policy also in the future.

As a NATO member, Finland will need readiness for change and adaptability. While membership does not change everything, being an ally requires us to adopt new ways of thinking and some changes in legislation as well. A lot has already been done: for years, we have been committed to develop our NATO compatibility. There is still considerable work ahead to integrate Finland’s defence as part of NATO’s common defence. The Defence Forces are also facing new demands and challenges to which we must respond.

At the same time, 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.

Finland applied to join NATO together with Sweden. Finland’s membership is not complete without that of Sweden. The persistent efforts for a rapid Swedish membership continue. Similarly, close cooperation continues to build common security and defence across the Nordic region.