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Finland is applying for NATO membership

Finland is applying for NATO membership

– ladies and gentlemen. Today, the President and the Prime Minister’s Committee on Foreign and Security Policy decided that Finland is applying for NATO membership, President Sauli Niinistö said at the press conference at the President’s Palace in central Helsinki.

Today is a historic day.

Niinistö further says that NATO membership secures Finland’s security policy and that the country will maximize its security. He says he doesn’t hurt anyone.

– During these times we have always had a close discussion with Sweden. It has always been said that the issue of Finland is our cause. One can now say that the issue of Sweden is our cause, says the President.

strengthens security

Prime Minister Sanna Marin says the hope is that the Swedish parliament will approve the commission’s proposal.

As a member of NATO, we will participate in strengthening the security of the entire Alliance. She says our decision will also strengthen the European Union.

The President and Prime Minister are asked why the decision is so important that it has the support of the Swedish Parliament.

The decision is historic. Niinistö says it is important for the decision to have parliamentary support.

He also stressed the importance of all parties having an opinion on the matter.

– It was clear to me that the entire field was involved.

great feelings

This day, Niinistö says, evokes great feelings.

Everyone probably went through an internal process before making the decision, he says.

Regarding Turkish President Erdogan’s statement that he does not “view positively” the granting of NATO membership to Sweden and Finland, Niinistö says he spoke with Erdogan as recently as a month ago.

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– I’m a little puzzled. I had a conversation with the president and he mentioned that we are applying for membership, says Niinistö and adds that Erdogan then said he would be positive on the matter.

He went on to say he was ready to hold new talks with Erdogan.

Reactions from Russia have been more moderate than expected, says Niinistö, who also took the opportunity to praise US President Joe Biden.

– When I visited Washington, it was very clear that the United States would provide all possible assistance, he says.

Quick operation

Sana Marin said the government hopes for a speedy certification process.

– We discussed with our colleagues during the spring how the process could continue. We have not encountered any indications at NATO that problems may arise for Finland or Sweden, she said.

Sunday’s NATO announcement was expected. Earlier this week, Niinistö and Marin announced that they believed Finland should join the defense alliance without delay.

“Membership in NATO will strengthen Finland’s security. As a NATO member, Finland will strengthen the entire defense alliance,” she said in a statement issued by the two countries at the time.

The Finnish Social Democrats gave the same message on Saturday.

Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö announced on Sunday that they are applying for NATO membership. Photo: Heikki Saukkomaa/AP/TT