Farewell to non-alignment: Finland wants to become a member of NATO

Finland wants to join NATO and now wants to apply to join the military alliance.

Farewell to non-alignment: Finland wants to become a member of NATO

Finland wants to join NATO and now wants to apply to join the military alliance. This was confirmed by Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin in Helsinki. However, the Finnish parliament still has to approve this step, but a majority is considered secure.

Finland is taking concrete steps to become a NATO member. Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced in Helsinki that the country will submit an application to be included in the military alliance.

"We hope that in the next few days the parliament will confirm the decision on the application for NATO membership," Marin said at a press conference. The approval of the Finnish parliament is still pending, but a majority is considered secure. "The decision will be based on a strong mandate from the President of the Republic. We are in close contact with the governments of NATO member states and with NATO itself," Marin continued. The step would bring the western military alliance to the border with Russia. But it could still be months before accession is complete, because the parliaments of all 30 current NATO members have to approve new applicants.

The NATO foreign ministers had previously sent clear signals to Finland and Sweden from their special meeting in Berlin. "NATO is an alliance that focuses on defense, and it will remain so, but it is also an open-door alliance," said Federal Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock at the beginning of the meeting in Berlin. Addressing Finland and Sweden, she added: "Welcome!"

Contrary to their historical military tradition of non-alignment, the two Scandinavian countries are about to apply for NATO membership because of the Russian war of aggression against Ukraine. The foreign ministers of both countries therefore took part in the first meeting of NATO heads of department in Berlin on Saturday evening. The Swedish decision is expected on Monday.

Both EU countries maintained neutrality for decades and were non-aligned on military issues. The Russian war of aggression has now tilted the mood among the population in favor of NATO membership. Finland is separated from Russia by a border that is around 1,300 kilometers long. The government in Moscow has already announced that it intends to take revenge if both countries join NATO. However, Russia did not name any concrete steps.

Turkey is skeptical about Finland and Sweden joining NATO. For years, the government in Ankara has criticized Sweden and Finland in particular for their dealings with organizations that Turkey classifies as terrorist, including the militant Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and the movement of the US-based Islamic cleric Fethullah Gülen.


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