tv Pres. Biden Finland President Sweden Prime Minister on Joining NATO CSPAN May 20, 2022 6:18am-6:48am EDT
>> the finnish president and the swedish prime minister join president biden at the white house to talk about their bid to join the nato alliance amid russia's invasion of ukraine. president biden said the two countries have the complete backing of the u.s. in joining nato. this is about 25 minutes. >> ladies and gentlemen, the president of the united states, accompanied by the president of the republic of finland and the prime minister of sweden. [band plays "hail to the chief brts] -- "hail to the chief"]
pres. biden: please be seated, thank you. it's not only a beautiful day, this is in my view and the view of my team, a momentous day. it's a very, very good day. today i am proud to welcome and offer the strong support of the united states for the applications of two great democracies and two close, highly capable partners, to join the strongest, most power. defensive alliance in the history of the world. two proud, independent countries exercising the sovereign rights all states possess to decide their own security. president niinisto and prime minister andersson, it is great
to have you here at the white house. it was out of the wreckage of world war ii that nato was formed. in the seven decades that followed, nato proved itself an indispensable alliance, committed to a europe whole, free and at peace. but in recent years, doubts began to arise. was nato still relevant. was it still effective. is it still needed in the 21st century world. today, there's no question, nato is relevant, it is effective, and it is more needed now than ever. the indispensable alliance of decades past is still the indispensable alliance for the world we face today. and i would argue tomorrow as well. and the decision of sweden and finland, the one they have made is testament to that commitment. this is about the future.
it's about a revived nato that has the tools and resources, the clarity and conviction, to defend our shared values and lead the world. sweden and finland, already among our closest partners on a rain only of issues from strengthening peace and stability to advancing human rights to taking on the climate crisis and addressing food insecurity from strengthening the global health to promoting development. finnish and swedish troops, finnish and swedish troops have already served shoulder-to-should we are u.s. and nato forces in kosovo and afghanistan and in iraq. and both finland and sweden are already working in coordination with the united states and our other allies and partners to support the brave people of ukraine as they defend their freedom against russia's invasion.
sweden and finland have strong democratic institutions, strong militaries, and strong and transparent economies and a strong moral sense of what is right. they meet every nato requirement and then some. and having two new nato members in the high north will enhance the security of our alliance and deepen our security cooperation across the board. today, the president and the prime minister and i had a very good discussion about nato accession, about the war in ukraine, and strengthening transatlantic security. but our conversations began well before today. president niinisto and i spoke in december and in again in january and the weeks leading up to russia's unprovoked and unjust assault on ukraine.
in march the president came to the white house to see me. to discuss this brutal conflict. and the rupture it's causing in europe. while we were in the oval office together we picked up the phone and called the prime minister and the three of us all spoke. we spoke again last week. when i invited them to come to the white house today. we have consulted closely at every stage as sweden and finland made their determinations. and today i am proud to assure them that they have the full, total, complete backing of the united states of america. today, my administration is submitting to the united states congress reports on nato accession for both countries, so the senate can efficiently and quickly move on advising and consenting to the treaty.
i greatly appreciate senator schumer's and mcconnell's support as well as senators menendez and rush to move this through the senate as quickly as possibly once perspectives of all allies are addressed and nato adopts the accession protocols. the bottom line is simple, quite straightforward. finland and sweden make nato stronger. not just because of the capacities, but because they are strong, strong democracies. a strong, united nato is the foundation of america's security. by joining nato, allies make a sacred commitment to one another. that an attack on one is an attack against all. it's article 5 of the washington troaty and the core building block of our alliance. the only time in history article
5 has been invoked was after 9/11, when the united states was attacked and all our allies rallied to our side. the united states will never forget that. and we will never fail in our pledge to defend every single inch of nato territory. i welcome sweden and finland choosing that responsibility as well. it's going to benefit all of our people and today, the president, prime minister and i committed that we're going to work together to remain vigilant against threats to our shared security and to deter and confront any aggression while finland and sweden are in this accession process. there's nothing going to be missed, my mother used to say, between the cup and the lip. we are in once it is moving forward. i really mean it.
i really mean it. so let me be clear. new members joining nato is not a threat to any nation. it never has been. nato's purpose is to defend against aggression. that's its purpose to defend. let no one make a mistake on the meaning of this historic day. in the face of aggression, nato has not grown weaker or more divided. it has grown stronger, more united, with finland and sweden's decision to request membership in nato it'll be enhanced for all time. standing together today we reject the bloody creed that might makes right and we declare more powering. -- a more power. creed, all for one and one for all. because what makes strong isn't
just our enormous military capacity but our commitment to values. nato is an alliance of choice, not coercion. this is a victory for democracy in action. finland and sweden are seeking to join nato because their citizens demanded it. and their elected leaders heard them. that's how it works when leaders derive their power from the consent of the governed. and that's why nato's open door has always been so important. it allows nations to choose for themselves to ask to be part of a group of nations that value freedom, democracy, and human dignity above all else. countries must demonstrate that they meet nato's high standards for military inon rability, economic transparency and democratic accountability. that's what sweden and finland have done.
so today, it's an affirmation of those countries in europe that share our values, that we're willing and able to do what it takes to be part of the alliance. nato's door remains open. just a few minutes, i'll be leaving to spend time with two of our indo-pacific allies. in a half-hour or so i'll be flying to the republic of korea and japan. i thank the president and prime minister for traveling here on this -- for this meeting before i take off because it is so important. america's alliances in europe and in asia keep us and i would argue, the world, strong and secure. they're how we confront the challenge of our time and deliver for our people today. andujarness opportunities for better tomorrow. and i look forward to soon
calling sweden and finland our friends, partners and nato allies. i want to thank you both for being here. and i'm going to invite each of you to say a few words, i'll start, mr. president, the podium is yours. president niinisto: mr. president, it is with great pleasure and honor to be standing here today with you, together with the swedish prime minister magdalena andersson. we are here for a very good reason. together we are taking a historic step by seeking to join the north atlantic treaty organization. finland has made its decision after a rapid but very thorough
process. the process has once again revealed the strength of finland's democracy starting from the strong public support. the decision was made with an overwhelming parliamentary majority and it shows huge, strong popular support. i want to thank you, mr. president, for your steadfast support throughout this process. in early march, i visited the white house and you encouraged us to go further. that was of vital importance to our process. your statement yesterday and our meeting today are a testimony of enduring commitment the united states has made to european and
thrans atlantic security. i want to ensure that finland will become a strong nato ally we take our security very seriously. the finnish armed forces are one of the strongest in europe. we have also consistently invested in developing our capabilities. the finns' willingness to defend their country is one of the highest in the whole world. we are ready to contribute to the security of the whole alliance, making the commitment to mutual security countries that being the nato alliance entails. now that we have taken this first decisive step it is time for nato allies to weigh in. we hope for strong support from
all allies and for a swift ratty case of our membership once it'f ourmenship once it's agreed. i believe the united states can set a very important example to others. the turkish leadership has expressed concerns about our membership application. i want to address these concerns today. finnland has always had relations with turkey. as nato allies we will commit to turkey's security just as turkey will commit to our security. we take this very seriously we condemn terrorism in all its forms. and we are actively engaged in combating it. we are open to discussing all the concerns turkey may have
concerning our membership in an open and constructive manner. these discussions have already taken place and will continue in the next days. 24 february, i said that the masks have fallen and we see only the cold faces of war. russia's war in ukraine has changed europe and our security environment. finland takes the step of nato membership in order to strengthen not only its own security but also in order to strengthen wider transatlantic security. this is not away from anybody.
like you, mr. president, said, nato is protective, defensive, not a threat to anybody. at the same time we must not forget that at this very moment the great people of ukraine are fighting not only for their own freedom and democracy but for our common security. finland, together with the e.u. and the united states, stands firmly behind ukraine. so mr. president, once again, i want to thank you for making history with us. thank you. pres. biden: thank you. prime minister andersson: mr. president, thank you for welcoming the president and me
to the white house. the bonds between sweden and the united states are strong and long-standing and as you know, swedes first set foot in your home state of delaware in 1638. and we were one they have -- one of the first countries to recognize the united states as an independent nation in 1783. since then, our countries have developed a deep and long-standing friendship. with trade and mutual interests and i personally very much want part of this. but most of all our shared values and beliefs in democracy and freedom, values and beliefs now being put to the test. today, the situation in ukraine reminds us of the darkest days of european history. and i must say that during dark
times, it is great to be among close friends. over these past months, we have shown transatlantic unity and strength at its best. together, we have responded forcefully to russia's aggression and provided unprecedented support to ukraine. we have not flinched. and mr. president, i want to thank you for the massive u.s. support to ukraine and for your sustained engagements in european society. president niinisto and i have come here and after 200 years of military nonalignment, sweden has chose and new path. yesterday, sweden and finland submitted our formal requests to
join nato. and russia's full scale aggression against a sovereign and democratic neighbor, that was a watershed moment for sweden my government has come to the conclusion that the security of the swedish people will be best protected within the nato alliance. and this is backed by very broad support in the swedish parliament. and with sweden and finland as members, nato will also be stronger. we are security providers with sophisticated defense capabilities. and we are champions of freedom, democracy and human rights. we have a long tradition of extensive military cooperation with nato, including all missions. and we are right now ramping up our defense spending and we will reach 2% of g.d.p. as soon as
practically possible. mr. president, your support for our country's nato aspirations for our security are of fundamental importance. and we look forward to swift ratification process by nato members and we are right now having a dialogue with all nato member countries including turkey on different levels to sort out any issues at hand. in the united states, the senate is crucial in this regard and last sunday i hosted a delegation headed by senate republican leader mcconnell in sweden and later today we'll meet majority leader schumer and other members of congress we great play appreciate the broad and strong support expressed by both parties in congress. but mr. president, our countries also work closely together when
tackling global chams. in sweden, like other nordic countries, has shown that emissions reduction can go hand in hand with economic growth. and in sweden right now, the green transition creates thousands of jobs. reinvestments in battery factories, remining and production. i brought the president a unique example of this, a candle holder made of the world's first fossil free means. what we see in sweden right now is previously neglected areas are no longer struggling with unemployment or depopulation but how to build house,
infrastructure and schools quick enough to make up for the expansion. here i see fantastic opportunities to cooperate between the nordic countries and the united states. i'm also proud that sweden contributes to the u.s. economy and the prosperity of the american people. swedish companies are active in every single state, creating more than 350,000 jobs in the united states. and we are the 15th largest investors. mr. president, i want to thank you for your leadership in our joint efforts to promote democracy throughout the world. because democracy requires constant work and safeguarding. we have to win every new generation. and let me conclude where i started. peace and stability in our part of the world is a common secured interest. for us, for you and for the rest
of europe. we stand here today more united than ever and we are committed to strengthening our bonds even further. sweden is prepared to show its responsibility as an ally in the north atlantic treaty organization. thank you. [applause] pres. biden: thank you. reporter: mr. president! do you plan on speaking on president erdogan? [applause]