Aug 9, 2022 - World

Biden signs off on NATO applications for Finland, Sweden

Joe Biden
Joe Biden speaks before signing the agreement for Finland and Sweden to be included in NATO in the East Room of the White House on Aug. 9. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

President Biden on Tuesday signed the ratification documents for Sweden and Finland to join NATO, bringing the two countries a step closer to formally becoming part of the alliance.

Why it matters: Sparked by Russia's invasion of Ukraine earlier this year, Sweden and Finland's bids to join NATO would significantly change the security landscape in Europe and more than double the length of the alliance's borders with Russia.

State of play: Biden's signing of the protocols follows the Senate's bipartisan vote last week to ratify the two countries' applications to NATO.

  • Biden spoke to Sweden's Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson and Finland's President Sauli Niinistö ahead of the signing to congratulate them on the U.S.' ratification of the protocols and the progress it represents in their to join NATO, per a White House readout.
  • Sweden and Finland were formally invited to join the alliance in late June after Turkey — which had hampered their bids to join — agreed to lift its objection.
  • In early July, NATO ambassadors from all 30 member states signed the accession protocols for Sweden and Finland.

What they're saying: Biden hailed Sweden and Finland's decision to join NATO as a "watershed moment" for the alliance that would bring greater security and stability to the whole world.

  • "In a moment, when [President Vladimir] Putin's Russia has shattered peace and security in Europe, when autocrats are challenging the very foundations of a rule-based order, the strength of the transatlantic alliance and America's commitment to NATO is more important than it's ever been," Biden said.
  • Biden added that NATO is an "indispensable alliance for the world of today and the world of tomorrow" and that Finland and Sweden's addition will make NATO "stronger than ever."

What's next: All 30 member states must ratify the accession protocols, a process that could take months.

  • So far, 23 NATO member countries have completed the ratification process, according to the Atlantic Council.

Go deeper: Why NATO formed and why Finland and Sweden want to join the alliance

Go deeper