| 3 March 2024, Sunday |

Italy’s lower house backs NATO membership for Finland and Sweden

Giorgia Meloni, whose far-right Brothers of Italy party is thought to be the front-runner in the upcoming election, applauded the vote by Italy’s Chamber of Deputies on Tuesday to confirm the entrance of Finland and Sweden to NATO.

The bill was approved by the lower house by a vote of 398 to 20 and now needs the Senate’s second and final approval.

“In the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine, strengthening the European front of the Alliance is an important step that can act as a deterrent to new Russian threats,” Meloni said in a statement.

The accession needs to be ratified by the parliaments of all 30 North Atlantic Treaty Organization members before Finland and Sweden can be protected by the NATO defence clause that states that an attack on one member is an attack against all.

Meloni, whose party is the most popular in the conservative coalition ahead of the Sept. 25 election, had endorsed Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s decision to ship weapons to Ukraine, even though it was in opposition to his government.

However, her two main allies, the League and Forza Italia, have been much more ambivalent, reflecting their historically close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

  • Reuters