President and Prime Minister Finland On the morning of May 12, the country issued a joint statement saying that it must apply to join NATO “immediately”, a decision that reversed the neutral stance maintained by Helsinki since the Cold War.
President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin of Finland confirmed their desire to make the country a member of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). “As a NATO member, Finland will strengthen the entire defense alliance,” the joint statement said.
“Finland must apply to join NATO immediately,” Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement. “We hope that the necessary steps by the country before this decision will be completed soon in the next few days.”
Finnish views on the matter changed rapidly after Russia launched a special military operation in Ukraine, which Moscow says is partly motivated by NATO’s growing expansion eastward.
The percentage of Finns in favor of joining NATO has hit a record high in recent months. Specifically, according to the latest poll by Radio YLE, 76% of Finns are in favor of joining NATO, only 12% are against, while the number supporting for many years has only reached about 25%.
Maintaining the principle of military non-alignment has long been practiced by Finland as a way to avoid conflict with neighboring Russia, which shares a 1,340km land border with them. Moscow said Finland’s security would be damaged rather than strengthened by joining NATO, as Russia would be forced to react to it.
According to RT, a special body of the Finnish government consisting of the president, prime minister and some cabinet members is expected to meet this weekend to write a formal application, which will then be submitted to the National Assembly. Finland for approval.
Each NATO member state will have to accept Finland’s request for it to become a full member. Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto this week said the process would be completed no earlier than October and could take up to 12 months.
Other Nordic country – Sweden – is expected to decide on whether to apply to join NATO on May 15.