US Senate approves Finland and Sweden NATO membership

In response to Russia's war of aggression against Ukraine, Sweden and Finland have applied for NATO membership.

Since then, the admissions process has been expedited. The US has now voted for it.

The US Senate almost unanimously approved the accession of Sweden and Finland to NATO. Across party lines, 95 senators voted in favor – one voted against: Republican Senator Josh Hawley from Missouri. He argued that the focus should be less on European security and more on the Chinese threat. Republican Rand Paul voted “present” – showing neither approval nor disapproval.

The US House of Representatives supported the project in July by passing a resolution. All that was required, however, was approval by the Senate with a two-thirds majority. Democrats and Republicans had earlier expressed a rare unanimity in favor of expanding the alliance to the north.

Biden: a historic vote

US President Joe Biden had previously advocated the admission of Finland and Sweden to NATO and sent the relevant documents to the Senate for consideration in July. With the vote before the summer break, the Senate reacted faster than average.

Biden was impressed. It is a historic vote and an important signal for the ongoing, non-partisan commitment of the USA to NATO. It is a sign that the alliance is prepared for the challenges of today and tomorrow.

23 out of 30 countries to join

Finland and Sweden had applied to join the western defense alliance in May after the Russian attack on Ukraine. With the USA’s yes vote, 23 of the 30 member states of the alliance have now agreed to the admission of both countries.

In order for them to be effectively protected by the defense clause, however, the consent of all member states is required. This process could take up to a year.

How will Turkey vote?

It is questionable whether Turkey will join – it was initially the only country to block the accession process. President Erdogan had some conditions and does not see them fulfilled by Sweden in particular.

The Bundestag and Bundesrat approved the double accession at the beginning of July. The German Minister of State Tobias Lindner deposited the acceptance documents in Washington in July. All relevant documents are kept in the USA.

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