In a final significant step just after the nation’s defense committee on Tuesday (May 10) gave its formal recommendation in the affirmative, Finland’s president and prime minister have also now come out urging application for NATO membership “without delay.”
Sauli Niinisto and Sanna Marin said Thursday (May 12) that a decision is likely during the next few days. “Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” they said in a joint statement. “We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”
A Pentagon spokesman statement was quick to welcome the imminent move, saying today that it would “not be difficult to integrate Finland into the NATO alliance” from a defense point of view, as cited by MSNBC.
At the same time NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg vowed that the membership process would be “smooth and swift” for Finland.
“This is a sovereign decision by Finland, which NATO fully respects,” Stoltenberg said, emphasizing that the Scandinavian country which shares an 810-mile long border with Russia would be “warmly welcomed into NATO.”