Finland will apply to become a member of Nato, president Sauli Niinisto said Sunday, after the government’s Foreign and Security Committee formally approved the country's application to join the Western military alliance.

At a press conference with prime minister Sanna Marin, Niinisto said: “A new era has dawned. A protected Finland is being born as part of a stable, strong and responsible Nordic region.

“We gain security and we also share it,” he added.