Aug 3 2022

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, U.S. Senators Thom Tillis (R-NC) and Jeanne Shaheen (D-NH) issued the following statements after the Senate approved protocols for Finland and Sweden’s accession into NATO by an overwhelming majority vote of 95-1 with one member voting present. Tillis and Shaheen serve as co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, which they re-established in 2018. 

“Sweden and Finland are both vital to the strength of NATO’s military border and the deterrence of future Russian aggression, and their historic accession to the NATO alliance will improve the security of Europe for years to come,”said Senator Tillis. “I was proud to recently lead a bipartisan delegation with Senator Shaheen to Finland and Sweden, where we saw firsthand the contributions they will make to the NATO Alliance as we face the greatest challenge to peace and stability since the end of the Cold War. As long as Putin continues his illegal invasion of Ukraine and works to rebuild the Russian empire, he will not stop there, which is why a strong and united NATO is vital to avoid further aggression. I applaud my Senate colleagues for this overwhelming vote to approve Sweden and Finland’s accession into NATO so we can continue to demonstrate overwhelming resolve against Putin’s actions.” 

“This is a historic step forward that further strengthens the NATO Alliance and signals strong and continued opposition to Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. The overwhelming bipartisan support in the U.S. Senate for Finland and Sweden’s accession sends an unmistakable message to both our allies and adversaries that our transatlantic bonds are stronger than any threat that seeks to break them,” said Senator Shaheen. “Vladimir Putin will not be allowed to violate any nation’s sovereignty or commit mass atrocities and acts of genocide without repercussions and condemnation from the global community. I urge our fellow NATO member states to take action and swiftly approve Finland and Sweden’s accession protocols, following in the footsteps of the U.S., Canada, Poland and other Alliance members.”

As co-chairs of the Senate NATO Observer Group, the Senators recently led a bipartisan group of lawmakers to the NATO Summit in Spain, in addition to stops in Finland and Sweden in support of their NATO membership aspirations. In May, Tillis and Shaheen led a bipartisan coalition of 80 lawmakers in a joint statement of support and a letter to President Biden, calling for Finland and Sweden’s swift accession into NATO. 

Tillis delivered remarks on the Senate floor earlier today on how critical Finland and Sweden’s NATO aspirations are to the Alliance in repudiation of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked war in Ukraine. On Monday, Tillis and Shaheen authored an op-ed in the New Atlanticist on the urgent need for the Senate to swiftly approve the NATO resolution protocols for Finland and Sweden’s accession – read it in full here.