In his opening remarks, the U.S. President said: “Our Alliance is closer than ever, more united than ever, and when Finland and Sweden bring the number of Allies to 32, we will be stronger than ever.”
The move is considered to be the most significant expansion of the military alliance since the 1990s, as it responds to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
In President Biden’s words, “it is a watershed moment in the Alliance and for the greater security and stability not only of Europe and the United States, but of the world.”
The decision by the two Nordic countries, which were both neutral throughout the Cold War, to formally apply for NATO membership came in May.
“This is the best thing for Sweden’s security,” the Swedish prime minister, Magdalena Andersson, stated at the time.
Overwhelming votes for Finland and Sweden
Prior to the signing of the U.S. Instrument of Ratification, the United States Senate, on August 3rd, had consented to Sweden and Finland’s membership with a near-record 95 votes in favor.
After Biden’s signature, the governments of the Czech Republic, Greece, Hungary, Portugal, Slovakia, Spain, and Turkey will still need to sign the instruments of ratification, as will all thirty existing NATO allies who must approve of the new members.
Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had previously stated his opposition to Finland and Sweden joining NATO. Within hours of their announcement that they would seek membership, Erdogan objected.
He appeared angered by what he saw as their willingness to host Kurdish militants, describing Sweden in particular as a “hatchery” for terrorist organizations.
However, on June 28th, Turkey lifted its veto over Finland and Sweden’s bid to join NATO after the three nations agreed to protect each other’s security.