Italy backs NATO applications of Finland and Sweden

“The application to join NATO is a clear response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat it poses to peace in Europe, to our collective security. Italy wholeheartedly supports Finland’s decision, as well as Sweden’s request,” Draghi said. [EPA-EFE/FILIPPO ATTILI/CHIGI PALACE PRESS OFFICE]

Rome favours the NATO applications of Finland and Sweden and pledged to support Finland during the transition period, said Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi after meeting his Finnish counterpart Sanna Marin at Palazzo Chigi on Wednesday.

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the NATO alliance on Wednesday (18 May), setting in motion an accession process expected to take only a few weeks.

“The application to join NATO is a clear response to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the threat it poses to peace in Europe, to our collective security. Italy wholeheartedly supports Finland’s decision, as well as Sweden’s request,” Draghi said.

“Like many other NATO and EU countries, we will be involved in helping to ensure Finland’s security in the time required for becoming a member of the alliance,” Draghi added, saying he intends to speed up internal proceedings for the accession.

Draghi also called for a European defence system complementary to NATO.

Meanwhile, the European Commission said it would further strengthen the Union’s defence capabilities, announcing it was prepared to invest “€500 million over two years” to incentivise member states to engage in joint defence procurement to fill the “most urgent and critical” gaps.

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