Portman, Bipartisan Group of Senators Urge the Biden Administration to Swiftly Advance NATO Applications for Sweden & Finland

May 24, 2022 | Press Releases

WASHINGTON, DC – U.S. Senator Rob Portman (R-OH) today joined a bipartisan group of 81 others 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.

In the letter, the senators noted that NATO’s expansion will send a clear message to Putin and authoritarian leaders across the globe that the free world stands ready to bolster the alliance and defend our values and sovereignty, including through NATO’s open door policy.

“As Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven, NATO, along with our democratic partners around the world, is more united than ever in opposition to the illegal acts of war waged by President Putin. Expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden will send a clear message to Vladimir Putin, and any leader that attempts to follow in his path, that the free world stands ready to defend its values and sovereignty. We will also continue to support NATO’s open-door policy, which affirms that new members are welcome to the alliance,” the senators wrote.

The senators also affirmed their support for Sweden and Finland’s applications as part of the Senate’s constitutional role to provide advice and consent for NATO enlargement. During this pivotal moment to our global security, they noted this expansion will further strengthen NATO’s military and diplomatic capabilities to address emerging threats, and mutual security assurances will extend to these two governments under the alliance.

“Members of the U.S. Senate take seriously our role in advising and consenting to NATO enlargement, a process that must be approved by all NATO member states. We affirm our support for Sweden and Finland’s applications for membership. In addition, we pledge to work closely with you and with our Senate colleagues to ensure that their applications are swiftly considered and approved by the Senate,” the senators concluded. “The transatlantic alliance has never been more crucial to global security and stability. The addition of these two important allies to NATO will ensure the alliance’s resilience and readiness, and we look forward to welcoming Sweden and Finland to NATO.”

Along with Portman, senators who signed onto the letter include Senators Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH), Thom Tillis (R-NC), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ben Cardin (D-MD), Tom Carper (D-DE), Chris Coons (D-DE), Tammy Duckworth (D-IL), Dick Durbin (D-IL), John Hickenlooper (D-CO), Angus King (I-ME), Jacky Rosen (D-NV), Ron Wyden (D-OR), Jon Tester (D-MT), Maggie Hassan (D-NH), Mark Kelly (D-AZ), Joe Manchin (D-WV), Susan Collins (R-ME), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Kevin Cramer (R-ND), Lindsey Graham (R-SC), Ben Sasse (R-NE), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), John Barrasso (R-WY), Joni Ernst (R-IA), Mitt Romney (R-UT), Mike Rounds (R-SD), John Thune (R-SD), Chuck Grassley (R-IA), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), Pat Toomey (R-PA), John Hoeven (R-ND), John Cornyn (R-TX), Tim Scott (R-SC), Tim Kaine (D-VA), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY), Catherine Cortez Masto (D-NV), Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ), Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Mazie Hirono (D-HI), Cory Booker (D-NJ), Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Michael Bennet (D-CO), Raphael Warnock (D-GA), Patty Murray (D-WA), Patrick Leahy (D-VT), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), Ed Markey (D-MA), Ben Ray Lujan (D-NM), Tom Cotton (R-AR), Richard Burr (R-NC), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Brian Schatz (D-HI), Chuck Schumer (D-NY), Chris Van Hollen (D-MD), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Jack Reed (D-RI), Martin Heinrich (D-NM), Gary Peters (D-MI), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), Alex Padilla (D-CA), Bob Menendez (D-NJ), Mark Warner (D-VA), Jon Ossoff (D-GA), Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV), Todd Young (R-IN), Roger Wicker (R-MS), Jim Risch (R-ID), Cindy Hyde-Smith (R-MS), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), Dan Sullivan (R-AK), Tina Smith (D-MN), Bob Casey (D-PA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Steve Daines (R-MT), Mike Crapo (R-ID) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA).

Final text of the letter is available here and below.

Dear President Biden:

We are pleased to see that Finland and Sweden have announced their intent to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. As members of the Senate with responsibility for providing advice and consent on treaties, we write to convey our full support for Sweden and Finland’s applications for NATO membership. We are fully committed to doing our part to expedite ratification of the Washington Treaty to ensure their quick accession to NATO. Similarly, we ask that you expedite the process in the Executive Branch to ensure that the United States moves quickly to bring two capable and committed partners into our alliance as swiftly as possible.

As you know, NATO has been the bedrock of European security and the global order since the end of World War II. Furthermore, as Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine has proven, NATO, along with our democratic partners around the world, is more united than ever in opposition to the illegal acts of war waged by President Putin. Expanding NATO to include Finland and Sweden will send a clear message to Vladimir Putin, and any leader that attempts to follow in his path, that the free world stands ready to defend its values and sovereignty. We will also continue to support NATO’s open-door policy, which affirms that new members are welcome to the alliance.

As our NATO allies rallied to support the United States after September 11th, 2001, we stand ready to assist them now as they face increasing acts of aggression from Putin’s Russia and its proxies. NATO enlargement to include Finland and Sweden will further bolster the alliance, providing crucial military and diplomatic capabilities that will help NATO address urgent security challenges and new and emerging threats. In addition, as Sweden and Finland advance through the NATO membership process, we reiterate our full support for the United States to provide mutual security assurances to the governments of Sweden and Finland. Should these two allies face threats or acts of aggression prior to their potential accession to the alliance, the United States should commit our full support.

Members of the U.S. Senate take seriously our role in advising and consenting to NATO enlargement, a process that must be approved by all NATO member states. We affirm our support for Sweden and Finland’s applications for membership. In addition, we pledge to work closely with you and with our Senate colleagues to ensure that their applications are swiftly considered and approved by the Senate.

The transatlantic alliance has never been more crucial to global security and stability. The addition of these two important allies to NATO will ensure the alliance’s resilience and readiness, and we look forward to welcoming Sweden and Finland to NATO.

Sincerely,

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