Germany’s legislators approve of NATO expansion

Legislators in voted by an overwhelming majority on Friday to approve Finland’s and Sweden’s membership in NATO, and ’s also moved ratification forward.

NATO allies who met in Madrid last week signed the accession protocols for the two countries to join the alliance. The move must now be ratified by the governments of all member states.

Following the vote in on Friday, German Defense Minister told lawmakers that their vote strengthens freedom and democracy – and sent a message to Russian President Vladimir Putin. “He bet on our weakness,” she said of the Russian leader. “Now he gets the opposite.”

For decades, Sweden and Finland, while always working with NATO, had historically remained neutral. But ’s unprovoked attack on Ukraine in February prompted nations to continue membership. Public approval to join the alliance has since increased.

Germany joins as the first two nations to fully ratify NATO’s expansion.

At the same time, the lower house of the Polish parliament, the Sejm, on Thursday approved Sweden’s and Finland’s accession to NATO, a vote that was also received with standing ovations.

The ratification proposals now go to the Upper House Senate, where they are also expected to pass easily before the final approval is given by President Andrzej Duda, who supports the accession.

Some information for this report was provided by the , and .

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    VOA News



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