The Head of State and a government council “have jointly decided that Finland will apply to become a member of NATO”, declared Finnish President Sauli Niinistö on May 15. “It is a historic day. A new era is dawning,” he said at a press conference.
The Finnish Parliament must examine the accession project on May 16, with a vote planned afterwards, according to the president of the chamber. With the support of Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democratic Party, the latter should result in a river score among the 200 Finnish parliamentarians. “We hope that Parliament will confirm the NATO candidacy decision in the next few days. It will be based on a clear mandate,” said Sanna Marin.
On May 14, the Finnish president called his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin to inform him of his country’s imminent application for membership, which Moscow considers a threat to its borders. “Abandoning the traditional policy of military neutrality would be a mistake because there is no threat to Finland’s security,” reads a statement from the Kremlin, released after a telephone conversation between the two leaders. State.
Russian for more than a century – mainly during the period of the Grand Duchy which extended from 1809 to 1917 -, and in conflict with the Soviet Union, in particular during the “Winter War” in 1939- 40, Finland today shares 1,300 kilometers of borders with Russia. Subject to a form of neutrality during the Cold War, Helsinki joined the European Union and NATO’s Partnership for Peace after the fall of the Soviet Union, but remained a non-member of the alliance.
But the Russian military operation in Ukraine has swung public opinion: 76% of the population would now be in favor of membership, according to a poll published on 9th May. A very large majority of the 200 deputies in Parliament are won over to the idea, with opponents falling to around ten, and most parties are now in favor of it.
Details to follow…
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