1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Finland to officially become 31st NATO member this week

April 3, 2023

The Finnish flag will be raised at NATO headquarters in Brussels following the "quickest ascension procession in NATO's history," according to Jens Stoltenberg.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg speaks during a media conference in Brussels
Finland is to be formally welcomed to the alliance with a flag-raising ceremony Stoltenberg saidImage: Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP Photo/piccture alliance

The Finnish president's office said that Finland would officially become a member of NATO on Tuesday.

The news was confirmed by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, "tomorrow we will welcome Finland as the 31st member."

He told reporters it would be "a historic and great day for NATO and for Finland."

The country's flag will be raised at NATO's headquarters in Brussels, signaling it has become the latest member of the military alliance. Finland's President Sauli Niinisto will also speak at the event. 

Completing the ratification in well under a year still makes it the "quickest ascension procession in NATO's history," Stoltenberg said.

Hard way to NATO

Fearing that they would be next targeted after Russian invasion of Ukraine last year, Finland and Sweden abandoned their traditional position of military non-alignment. They applied for NATO membership in May 2022.

Admitting a new country requires unanimity among all member nations.

Turkey and Hungary were holdouts for months, but both countries' parliaments ratified Finland's application in the past few weeks, clearing the last major hurdle for the country to join NATO.

Sweden's membership is still pending Turkish ratification due to several sticking points.

Stoltenberg, however, pointed out "Sweden will also be safer as a result," of Finland's membership.

He added that he expected that Sweden would be able to join NATO soon.

Setback for Russia

Stoltenberg pointed out that by Finland joining NATO, the military alliance's land border with Russia more than doubled.

Finland shares a 1,300 kilometers (800 miles) border with Russia.

"President Putin went to war against Ukraine with the clear aim to get less NATO...he is getting the exact opposite, he is getting more NATO presence in the eastern part of the alliance, and he is getting two new members with Finland and Sweden," Stoltenberg said.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Grushko said Moscow would strengthen its military capacity in its western and northwestern regions in response to Finland's accession, state-owned news agency RIA reported.

lo/dj (Reuters,AFP)