In May, Senator Collins met with Finnish and Swedish political leaders in Helsinki and Stockholm
Click HERE to watch Senator Collins’ floor remarks.
Click HERE to read Senator Collins’ floor remarks.
Washington, D.C.—Today, by a vote of 95-1, the Senate approved Finland’s and Sweden’s bids to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Immediately prior to the vote, U.S. Senator Susan Collins spoke on the Senate floor to urge her colleagues to ratify Finland’s and Sweden’s memberships.
Earlier this year, Senator Collins travelled with a Senate Delegation to Kyiv, Ukraine, to meet with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy. Immediately following that visit, Senator Collins traveled to Helsinki, Finland, and Stockholm, Sweden, to meet with Finnish President Sauli Niinistö, Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin, and Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson to convey the strong support they would receive to join this critical defensive military alliance.
“Our visits to these leaders came just as the parliaments of Finland and Sweden were voting to formally request admission into NATO. We assured their leaders that there was strong, bipartisan support in the Senate for their accession, and that adding their capabilities to the alliance would improve, would strengthen, our collective defense and security,” said Senator Collins. “During the current crisis in Ukraine, Finland and Sweden have been invaluable partners to the Ukrainians. They have been sending vital military aid to Ukraine as well as humanitarian assistance since February, including anti-ship missiles, rifles, body armor, and anti-tank weapons.”
“There are a few critics who contend that this NATO expansion, which would more than double NATO’s direct border with Russia, is somehow ‘provocative’ to Vladimir Putin. This assertion ignores a clear pattern of Russian aggression extending back years,” Senator Collins continued. “This expansion of NATO is warranted precisely because of Russian provocations across the region. As always, NATO and the United States have no desire to see a war with Russia, but we will defend the territory and sovereignty of each of its members.”
“Russia’s brutal and unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has permanently changed the European security environment. Enlarging NATO to include two of our most capable and supportive European allies, Finland and Sweden, is a necessary and deliberative response,” Senator Collins concluded. “I urge all of my colleagues, in a strong vote, to join me in the swift ratification of Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO.”
In May, Senator Collins joined a bipartisan group of 80 Senators in sending a letter to President Biden, urging him to expedite the Executive Branch’s process to advance Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership and pledging to work with the Administration to ensure swift ratification of the Washington Treaty.