OTTAWA, Ont. — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada on Tuesday became the first NATO member to formally approve applications by Finland and Sweden to join the alliance.
Trudeau is now urging other allies to move quickly to finalize their own ratification processes.
“This brings the two countries a step closer to full membership,” he said in a statement. “Their membership will make NATO stronger.”
Helsinki and Stockholm applied to join NATO in May, less than two months after Russia’s full-blown invasion of Ukraine.
Canada’s blessing Tuesday to bring the Nordic countries into NATO’s fold was accelerated last month by the House of Commons’ unanimous support for their membership.
The Canadian step also followed the move last week by NATO ally Turkey to lift its objection to the countries’ applications.
Turkey, Finland and Sweden signed a memorandum of understanding ahead of the NATO summit in Madrid. The agreement came in response to Ankara’s concerns over the countries’ alleged support for Kurdish groups and arms embargoes.
The parliaments of each individual NATO country must ratify the alliance’s additions of Finland and Sweden.
NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declined last week to offer a precise timeline on when the countries will officially join the group.
“We call on all NATO members to move swiftly to complete their ratification processes to limit opportunities for interference by adversaries,” Trudeau’s statement said Tuesday.