Finland military integration with NATO completed
Finland became a formal member of NATO in April after it applied for membership in May of last year.
On Monday, the head of the Finnish Defense Forces and the NATO supreme allied commander in charge of transformation signed a declaration to signify the completion of Finland's military integration with NATO.
The declaration confirmed the fulfillment of the Integration Phase objectives accomplished by the Finnish Defense Forces. The joint statement was signed by Gen. Timo Kivinen of Finland and Gen. Philippe Lavigne of France at a ceremony in the Presidential Palace in Helsinki, in the presence of Finnish leader Sauli Niinisto.
Lavigne praised Finland's accession to NATO, saying it's a "game-changer" and a significant contribution to Europe's collective defense.
Following the outbreak of the Ukraine war, Sweden and Finland both submitted applications to join NATO last year.
While Turkey stalled Sweden's entry, Finland became the 31st member of NATO member in April 2023, after a year-long wait of overcoming Turkey's objections.
Days ago, Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan on Wednesday told Swedish counterpart, Tobias Billstrom, that Sweden must take concrete steps in order to join the NATO alliance.
As diplomatic tensions between Sweden and Turkey reached an all-time high, Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto stated on January 24 that Finland could consider joining NATO without Sweden.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement that "today (on June 7), Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan had a phone conversation with Swedish Foreign Minister Tobias Billstrom. During the talk, he congratulated his colleague Minister Fidan on his new appointment. Minister Fidan also stressed that concrete steps must be taken for Sweden to join NATO."
The statement added that both ministers convened on the restoring of dialogue following a meeting of the Standing Joint Mechanism on Sweden's NATO membership.