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NATO Extends Formal Invitation To Finland And Sweden

finlandsweden june30 lt

NATO leaders took a historic decision to invite Finland and Sweden to become members of the Alliance.

Finland and Sweden simultaneously handed in their official letters of application to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization on May 16.

The North Atlantic Council meeting in Madrid collectively decided to approve the applications after Turkey dropped its objections Tuesday.

The summit formalized its invitation to the two Nordic countries.

The defense alliance currently has 30 members. A potential expansion of the defense bloc with the addition of these two countries is seen as a big political challenge by Russian President Vladimir Putin as his war to conquer Ukraine grinds ahead.

"The accession of Finland and Sweden will make them safer, NATO stronger, and the Euro-Atlantic area more secure. The security of Finland and Sweden is of direct importance to the Alliance, including during the accession process," says a declaration issued by NATO Heads of State and Government.

The North Atlantic Council's approval of the applications for NATO membership requires ratification by the parliaments of all the countries of the 30-member bloc.

NATO's leaders were optimistic that the process will move quickly.

The summit endorsed NATO's new Strategic Concept, the blueprint for the Alliance in a more dangerous and competitive world.

The leaders also decided a fundamental shift in the alliance's deterrence and defense, underpinned by increased defense investment and common funding, as well as more support to Ukraine for the longer term.

They also decided to launch the NATO Innovation Fund and to set targets to cut NATO's greenhouse gas emissions.

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