Italy supports Finland-Sweden NATO bid: PM

Rome, May 18 (UNI/Xinhua): Italy has backed the bid by Finland and Sweden to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), the country’s Prime Minister, Mario Draghi, told journalists here on Wednesday.

Draghi met the press along with Finland’s visiting Prime Minister Sanna Marin at Palazzo Chigi, the seat of Italy’s government. He said Italy was willing to speed up the two applicant countries’ accession procedures. Draghi recalled that the application for membership in the military alliance was sparked by security worries in the wake of the conflict between Russia and Ukraine.


Finland and Sweden, both members of the European Union (EU), formally applied for NATO membership on Wednesday. All 30 current NATO member states must approve the applications of new members.

Turkey, however, has said it opposed the membership of the two Nordic countries. Marin’s visit to Rome was part of a broad push for membership for Finland and Sweden. In her remarks, Marin said that NATO membership was the “best security guarantee for Finland and for Sweden at this point”.

She said her country’s army was “strong” but that the European Union would be “more secure” with Finland and Sweden in NATO. Draghi said Italy’s support for Finland did not depend on that country becoming a member of NATO.

“Like many other NATO and EU countries, (Italy) will be involved in helping to ensure Finland’s national security during the transition period,” Draghi said. “What that entails is something we will decide when it is needed.”

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