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Following Visit to Sweden and Finland, Blunt Calls for Quick Senate Action to Approve NATO Membership

July 12, 2022

WASHINGTON – Following a recent congressional delegation trip to Europe, U.S. Senator Roy Blunt (Mo.), a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and the Defense Appropriations Subcommittee, spoke on the Senate floor today to outline his support for the accession of Sweden and Finland into NATO. Blunt highlighted the significant geographic and security benefits both countries will bring to the alliance.

Following Are Blunt’s Remarks:

“Mr. President, I want to join with my five colleagues who've been here today and the two people who are with us, Senator Fischer and Senator Durbin. I would say that one of the great things about this effort was the unanimous feeling that all seven of us had about both what's happening in NATO and our commitment to win in Ukraine. We were able to demonstrate that to every group we met with, from every country we met with.

“I think, with the strong leadership of Chairman Shaheen and [Senator] Tillis, that it made an impression on where we were and the unity that we have on this. It would be interesting to know if Putin was more surprised by the Ukrainian resistance, the poor performance of his own military. Or, my guess would be, he may have been most surprised by what's happened at NATO, the great turnaround of the current NATO countries and their commitment to NATO, their commitment to what they have been willing to do and pledged to do with NATO.

“And then to see these two incredibly important security contributors join NATO after 73 years of being neutral and an important part of the world and saw that as part of their long-term commitment. But, both Finland and Sweden—who, by the way, have been NATO contributors for some time now, in terms of being willing to be part of NATO missions, training with their future NATO allies.

“All that is incredibly important. But these countries not only bring incredible security contributions to NATO, but they also bring significant geographic contributions to NATO.

“When you look at a map, suddenly, not just Norway, that's been in NATO. But Sweden and Finland in NATO has an incredible impact on the ability of what happens in the Baltic. That's important to us as we look to the future.

“Now, with the exception of Russia, every country that borders and has part of a claim on the Arctic will be a NATO country. This is a part of the world we've been talking about much more in the last five years than we did the previous 25 years. To have this NATO unity as we look at the Arctic is an important thing.

“The 800-mile border that Finland has shared for years and defended for years against Russia doubles the NATO border in Europe. The intimate understanding that both Sweden and Finland have of Russia brings a different point of view and a helpful point of view to NATO.

“And, for the current members, particularly the new members of NATO, when you look at these Baltic countries of Estonia and Latvia and Lithuania, and then look at Poland and Romania, seeing that what happens when the unity is created, and the force multiplier is there.

“You've heard my colleagues already talk about the jet planes, the submarines, the Navy, the Air Force that both of these [countries] bring. The cyber ability that both of them bring to the fight is real.

“You know, in a meeting that I was with before this meeting occurred with the Latvian Defense Minister — one of the newest members of NATO, one of the most vulnerable members of NATO as we've looked at NATO for some time — said, ‘we don't want to be rescued by NATO. We want to be defended by NATO.’

“I think, today, we see the growth of NATO. We see a NATO that's willing to do its job, defending its members in this most successful alliance of all time. Never been anything like it.

“President Truman was the leader in putting this together in 1949. Here we are 73 years later. Within my view, NATO not only is at its largest group of members, but also its most powerful and committed group of members in the history of this alliance.

“I look forward to being on the Senate floor when the Senate does its job to welcome Sweden and Finland to NATO. And I'm pleased that process has started. And I'd yield the floor.”

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