Czech and Finnish Foreign Ministers Jan Lipavsky and Pekka Haavisto in Brussels yesterday. Photo credit: Jan Lipavský – ministr zahraničí ČR, via Facebook.

Brussels, April 5 (CTK) – Finland’s accession into NATO is a historic step for the security of Europe, said Czech PM Petr Fiala (ODS) yesterday. Foreign Minister Jan Lipavsky (Pirates) added that the Russian aggression in Ukraine has shown Finland that neutrality will not ensure its security, and that the newest NATO member will be a strong ally.

Finnish membership of NATO should benefit both Helsinki and the whole of Europe, Lipavsky told journalists in the NATO headquarters in Brussels.

Yesterday, Finland became the 31st member of NATO, after deciding to join in the wake of the Russian aggression against Ukraine.

“I fully understand Finland, which has a very strong military and spends 4% of GDP on defence. It is a very strong ally,” said Lipavsky shortly before the ceremony marking Finland’s admission to NATO.

Most NATO countries, including the Czech Republic, still have not reached the jointly-agreed goal of spending 2% of GDP on defence. The Czech Republic plans to reach this level next year.

Fiala, too, said Finland joining the alliance meant a great reinforcement of NATO as a military defence pact.

“I hope that Hungary and Turkey will ratify the entry of Sweden, which would also like to become a NATO member soon,” Fiala wrote on Twitter.

Sweden applied for NATO entry together with Finland almost one year ago, but its request has still not been approved by Turkey due to Sweden’s approach to Kurdish people living in Sweden that the Turkish government regards as terrorists.

Lipavsky said the Czech Republic would try to support Sweden’s entry, though the decision is not in Czech hands.

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