May 23, 2022

Risch, Menendez, Schumer, McConnell, Colleagues Introduce Resolution in Support of Finland, Sweden Joining NATO

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senators Jim Risch (R-Idaho) and Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), ranking member and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.), Republican Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.), Ron Johnson (R-Wis.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), and Chris Coons (D-Del.) last Thursday introduced a resolution in support of Finland’s and Sweden’s accession to NATO.

“Last week, I was honored to meet President Niinistö of Finland and Prime Minister Andersson of Sweden here at the Capitol. Both Finland and Sweden have been longtime friends and partners to both the United States and to NATO, and I am fully confident that their inclusion will strengthen and add new capabilities to the alliance,” said Ranking Member Risch. “To welcome their mutual decision to apply for membership in NATO, something that I have long-encouraged them to do, I’ve introduced a bipartisan resolution with Senator Menendez and others in support of their speedy accession. This resolution highlights both nations’ political and military successes, and calls on the Senate to ratify their accession to NATO as soon as possible.”

“I’m proud to join my colleagues to introduce this Resolution as a testament to our commitment to revitalize our rock solid bond with NATO as the most powerful alliance in the history of the world and an absolutely essential pillar of U.S. national security,” said Chairman Menendez. “Putin has empowered NATO’s mission and the world’s resolve to stand united against his aggression. As I expressed to President Niinistö of Finland and Prime Minister Andersson of Sweden during our meeting in the Capitol last week, we fully support their application to become NATO members and are looking forward to their swift ascension in the coming months.”

“NATO has been the cornerstone of Western defense since World War II, and President Niinistö of Finland and Prime Minister Andersson of Sweden are showing strong leadership in joining the United States and its allies against Putin’s deeply immoral campaign of violence,” said Leader Schumer. “As the world’s democracies unite against Putin and his crony oligarchs, Finland and Sweden’s ascension into NATO will be a further rebuke of Putin’s murderous attack on Ukraine. As Majority Leader, I commit to moving their acceptance into NATO swiftly through the Senate and expect broad bipartisan support. The people of Ukraine continue to fight bravely against Russian aggression and every democracy across the globe has an obligation to stand with Ukraine.”

“Finland and Sweden are strong countries with formidable military capabilities that surpass many existing NATO allies. Both nations’ robust defense funding means their accession would meaningfully bolster our pursuit of greater burden-sharing across the alliance. I fully support the Senate providing its advice and consent as quickly as possible,” said Republican Leader McConnell.

“As the Ukrainian people fight for their lives and freedom, Finland and Sweden’s commitment to join the transatlantic alliance at this pivotal time matters not just for Ukraine, but for Europe, global stability and the future of liberal democracies around the world. As co-chair of the Senate NATO Observer Group, I’m proud of the continued bipartisan efforts in Congress to ensure that Senate support for NATO remains strong, especially amid Putin’s unprovoked, bloody invasion of Ukraine,” said Senator Shaheen. “This new bipartisan resolution builds on that progress and I look forward to working with my Senate colleagues to ratify Sweden and Finland’s accession into NATO as soon as possible, and I encourage other NATO allies to do the same.”

“At a time when Russia is committing war crimes against its neighbor and is engaged in other malign activities in Europe, the expansion of NATO is both justified and imperative. The addition of Finland and Sweden to the alliance will strengthen the alliance and underscores Putin’s strategic blunder in invading Ukraine. He has accomplished exactly the opposite of what he intended,” said Senator Johnson.

“Finland and Sweden are strong democracies with highly capable militaries and defense industries. Finland shares an 830-mile border with Russia. The addition of these two nations to NATO makes the United States more secure, NATO more powerful and will enhance the free world’s support for Ukraine at this critical moment,” said Senator Cardin. “I’m proud to join with bipartisan colleagues in welcoming these new partners at this pivotal time for democracy and the sovereignty of nations.”

“My visit to NATO headquarters in Brussels last week underscored the historic strength and unity of the alliance, which will only be bolstered when Finland and Sweden gain membership with their advanced economies, experienced militaries, and commitment to our shared values and priorities,” said Senator Coons. “I’m glad to join my Senate colleagues in this resolution and will work toward a swift ratification process for both nations’ accession into the alliance.” 

This resolution:

  • Welcomes and supports Finland’s and Sweden’s decision to join NATO;
  • Acknowledges that Russia’s invasion of Ukraine has dramatically changed the security situation in Europe, and the reform and expansion of NATO is key to ensuring a safe and prosperous future for the United States and critical allies and partners;
  • Recognizes that Finland and Sweden have surpassed the qualifications expected of prospective members, and that both countries have much to contribute and gain from NATO membership;
  • Reaffirms support for NATO’s collective security commitment and for maximizing our allies’ combined defense capabilities through NATO coordination and cooperation;
  • Calls on the Biden Administration to move expeditiously to complete all documents and reports needed to support the Senate’s approval of the accession protocols; and
  • Calls on all NATO members to move rapidly to complete their ratification process.

Text of the resolution can be found here.

###