Shaheen, Tillis lead congressional delegation statement as path clears for Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO
WASHINGTON – U.S. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) and Thom Tillis (R-NC) led their bipartisan delegation to the NATO Summit, including Sens. Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chris Coons (D-DE), Deb Fischer (R-NE), Roy Blunt (R-MO) and Joni Ernst (R-IA), in a joint statement on the announcement that an agreement was reached and Turkey will drop its hold on Finland and Sweden’s application to join the transatlantic Alliance. Shaheen and Tillis are leading the delegation’s visit and participation in the NATO summit in Madrid. The Senators previously stopped in Finland and Sweden to meet with heads of state and partake in other important bilateral meetings with the respective nations’ administration officials.
“It is important that all NATO Allies work together to accelerate Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO, which is why we are very encouraged that an agreement was reached that will allow their applications to advance,” said the lawmakers. “Finland and Sweden’s contributions to the Alliance will strengthen our response to an emboldened and revisionist Vladimir Putin. We appreciate the Secretary General working diligently with President Erdogan and Finland and Sweden’s leadership to reach this moment. Our bilateral and multilateral meetings with NATO member states and NATO aspirant nations have been productive, and we look forward to sharing that progress with fellow lawmakers upon our return to the United States to increase U.S. support for NATO and push for a swift approval process in the Senate for Finland and Sweden. For more than seventy years, NATO has upheld transatlantic security. That mission endures, and with the inclusion of Finland and Sweden, we are best positioned to rebuke Putin’s aggression that is targeting Ukraine and threatening democracies worldwide.”
As co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, Shaheen and Tillis recently led a bipartisan coalition of lawmakers in a joint statement of support and a letter to President Biden, calling for Finland and Sweden’s swift accession into NATO in response to the respective nations announcing their intent to join the transatlantic Alliance. The Senate NATO Observer Group, re-established by Shaheen and Tillis in 2018, has an expanded mission to closely monitor and inform Senators outside of national security committees about defense spending commitments of Alliance members, the process of upgrading military capabilities, the Alliance’s counter-terrorism capability, NATO enlargement and the ability of NATO member states to address unconventional warfare threats.