NATO is poised to formally add Finland to its ranks imminently, after the nation’s membership request secured final approval from a current alliance member.
“Finland will formally join our Alliance in the coming days,” says NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg. “All 30 NATO allies have now ratified the accession protocol,” he announced on 31 March.
“I welcome the vote by the Turkish Grand National Assembly to ratify Finland’s membership in NATO,” he says of the final approval from Ankara.
Noting that the Nordic nation has “highly capable forces, advanced capabilities and strong democratic institutions”, Stoltenberg notes: “Their membership will make Finland safer and NATO stronger. Finland will bring a lot to our alliance.”
Previously non-aligned Finland and Sweden both last year made requests to join NATO, following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
“Since then, we have seen the fastest ratification process in NATO’s modern history,” Stoltenberg notes. “All allies agree that a rapid conclusion of the ratification process for Sweden will be in everyone’s interest,” he adds.
NATO recently said that 28 member states had given their approval for Stockholm’s addition, with final backing yet to be secured from Hungary and Turkey.
“I look forward to also welcoming Sweden as a full member of the NATO family as soon as possible,” its secretary general says.
Finland – which has a long land border with Russia – has an active fleet of 166 military aircraft, according to Cirium fleets data. This includes 62 Boeing F/A-18C/D Hornet fighters, although Helsinki plans to replace these via an acquisition of 64 Lockheed Martin F-35As.