Defense Alliance: Finland decides to join NATO

Status: 05/15/2022 12:38 p.m.

Finland wants to apply for NATO membership. This was declared by Finnish President Niinistö and Prime Minister Marin in Helsinki. The Finnish parliament has yet to approve the decision.

Finland wants to become a member of NATO. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced in Helsinki that the country would submit an application to be included in the military alliance. The Finnish parliament has yet to approve this decision, but a majority is considered safe.

President Niinistö has repeatedly referred to a “historic day” for the Scandinavian country. “A new era is beginning,” the president said. Finland has been non-aligned for decades and shares a 1,300 kilometer border with Russia. For a long time, joining the military alliance was considered unthinkable – also because the Finns wanted to avoid a conflict with their big neighbor to the east. But Moscow’s war of aggression in Ukraine has led politicians and the population to rethink.

Approval in Parliament – a simple formality

The decision was preceded by intensive social debate and extensive political consultations. Niinistö and Marin recently campaigned to join the military alliance. It was only on Saturday that Marin’s ruling Social Democratic party, the SDP, came out in favor of the move.

This means that a majority in parliament for NATO membership is considered assured. According to the latest opinion polls, the majority of the population now also supports this decision.

Decision expected in Sweden

Russia’s war of aggression in Ukraine has also sparked a big debate about NATO membership for Sweden, which has also been unaligned so far. A decision by Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democrats is still awaited there today. Andersson leads a minority government in which only his party participates. from Russia

Putin: Joining NATO is a mistake

In a phone call to Niiinisto on Saturday, President Vladimir Putin called Finland’s plan to join NATO a mistake. Russia does not pose a threat to the neighboring country, Putin stressed during the talks, according to the Kremlin. Finland’s abandonment of traditional neutrality will lead to a deterioration of good neighborly relations.

Finland and Sweden are already close NATO partners, but not official members. Theoretically, their admission into the military alliance could still be blocked by the veto of a member state, which must decide unanimously on admissions. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been critical, accusing Finland and Sweden of offering sanctuary to the banned Kurdish Workers’ Party, the PKK.

Finland applies for NATO membership, Sweden could follow

Arne Bartram, ARD Stockholm, May 15, 2022 1:16 p.m.

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