Finland's Parliament has given final approval for the country's bid to join NATO, with lawmakers signing off on membership and the required legislation. The Eduskunta legislature voted 184-7 to favor Finland's accession to NATO, clearing the last domestic hurdle to becoming part of the Western military alliance.
NATO Membership Still Pending
Two of NATO's 30 existing members, Turkey and Hungary, have yet to ratify the joint application made by Finland and Sweden last year. Admitting new members requires unanimous approval.
Finnish Prime Minister Pushes for Approval
Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin's government initiated the vote, seeking to secure the approval of her country's lawmakers before the April 2 general election. President Sauli Niinisto has pledged to sign the legislative decisions into law before the election.
Finland and Sweden Apply to Join NATO
Finland and Sweden, close partners culturally, economically, and politically, applied together to join NATO in May 2022. Their bid is historic as Finland has remained military non-aligned since World War II, and Sweden has not been in a military conflict in the past 200 years.
Opposition to NATO Membership
Most opposition to accepting Finland and Sweden as new NATO members comes from Turkey, which wants stronger action, mostly from Sweden, against groups that Ankara considers terrorist organizations.
Swedish Prime Minister Supports Anti-Terrorism Laws
Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson said that Sweden needs a law that forbids participation in terrorist organizations, a move considered important for Turkey to sign off on Sweden's NATO application.
NATO Secretary-General Supports Finland and Sweden's Membership
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said that adding Finland and Sweden as members were "a top priority" for the alliance and urged Turkey and Hungary to ratify the Nordic countries' accession. Turkey has agreed to resume talks with Finland and Sweden this month to resolve issues and obstacles with Sweden. Hungary's Parliament is expected to ratify the Nordic duo's NATO membership at the end of March.