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Niinistö and Marin: “Finland must apply for NATO membership”

The issue of Finnish NATO membership has turned upside down since Russia’s occupation of Ukraine – and there are several indications that Finland is ready to apply for membership.

On Thursday, Finnish President Saul Ninisto and Prime Minister Channa Marin jointly issued a statement. They both hope to apply immediately to join Finland’s military alliance.

“It takes time to build a national position in Rickstock and the community. It takes time for closer international relations with NATO and its member states, and Sweden. We want to give the necessary space for discussion,” Marin and Ninisto wrote.

The President and the Prime Minister hope that NATO membership will strengthen Finland’s security – and that it must happen soon.

“We hope that the necessary national steps to take this decision will be taken urgently in the coming days.”

Opinion for NATO members in Finland has risen sharply in recent months. A poll conducted in October last year showed that 26 percent of Finnish NATO members support NATO, while 76 percent of Finns in the YLE poll in May favored NATO. If Sweden joins, this number will rise to 83 percent.

Much has been pointed out The message from President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin will be yes to the military alliance. Many of the previously dubious parties have changed their position – now a large section of the parliamentary parties are behind joining NATO. A few days ago, the Finnish Security Council issued a statement.

On Wednesday, President Sauli Niinistö met with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson after visiting Magdalena Anderson in Harpsund. Together, they later released a statement on deep security cooperation between the two countries – and the United Kingdom welcomed what Finland could contribute if it wanted to join NATO.

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Finnish Prime Minister Channa Marin.

Finnish Prime Minister Channa Marin.

Photo: K Needfeld / AFP

The United Kingdom has confirmed that Finland can expect assistance in the event of a disaster or attack on the country.

“If any of the countries is affected by a catastrophe or an attack, Finland and the United Kingdom, at the request of the affected country, assist each other in a variety of ways, including military means.”

In early May, Sanna Marin accompanied by German Chancellor Magdalena Anderson visited German Chancellor Olof Scholes, who later clarified that the German government supports Finnish and Swedish members in NATO.

Finland’s meeting with US President Joe Biden in Washington in early March to discuss closer security cooperation between the two countries was one of the earliest signs of NATO’s open membership. At the time, the Chancellor of Finland did not want to explain what that cooperation would look like. But at a joint press conference he said:

– The idea is that we must proceed according to a process. Without explaining every proposal or initiative, we begin the clear process of expanding cooperation in security and security matters.

The president’s though And the Prime Minister’s statement does not indicate the end of the NATO process for Finland. The SDP, Sanna Marin’s party, will only announce on Saturday how it stands with NATO. Also on Thursday, parliamentary committees of various parties will present their position on the issue.

However, it is clear that Finland’s 200 parliamentarians have a majority supporting NATO membership. According to a study by Helsing’s Synod newspaper, only 10 members are against joining the military coalition and 126 are in favor.

No referendum will be held in Rickstock, as the President will carry out the NATO application in conjunction with Finland’s Foreign and Security Policy Committee. The application will be submitted early next week, according to reports in the Finnish media. And then it can go fast: sources within NATO say the DN can conclude access talks to Sweden and Finland on the same day – and within two weeks all 30 countries could sign the protocol.

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