Finland moves to join NATO ‘without delay’!!! EU Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs debates

Finland moves to join NATO ‘without delay’!!! EU Parliament Committee on Foreign Affairs debates

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Finland must seek immediate membership in NATO, leaders of the Nordic nation said on Thursday, moving to end seven decades outside the Western military bloc in response to Russia’s war in Ukraine.

Finland’s entry would add significant combat power to the alliance while also deepening the East-West divisions that have consumed Europe since Russia’s Feb. 24 invasion. Neighboring Sweden is expected to announce its own NATO bid soon.

#eudebates the unique initiative aiming to promote debate, dialogue, knowledge, participation and communication among citizens. #Sweden #Finland #NATO

Witold Jan Waszczykowski, EP Committee on Foreign Affairs Chairman, backs Finland’s decision joining NATO in policy shift triggered by Ukraine war. Finnish leaders announce a significant policy shift triggered by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin have announced that Finland must apply to join the NATO military alliance “without delay”.

Witold Jan Waszczykowski is a Polish politician. He was the Minister of Foreign Affairs between 2015 and 2018. Waszczykowski was a Member of the Sejm, and has been the Member of the European Parliament since 2019.

Moscow said that Finnish accession, which would add hundreds of miles to NATO’s shared border with Russia, would threaten its security. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Finnish membership could require new measures by Russia to “balance the situation.”

Finnish President Sauli Niinisto and Prime Minister Sanna Marin, announcing their positions after weeks of internal deliberations, said the militarily nonaligned nation must “apply for NATO membership without delay.”

“As a member of NATO, Finland would strengthen the entire defence alliance,” they said in a statement. The decision, which must be approved by Finland’s Parliament, is expected to be finalized in coming days.

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said President Vladimir Putin’s assault on Ukraine illustrates the Russian leader’s willingness to send troops into neighboring nations and has dramatically altered the security outlook — not only for Finland. “The war started by Russia jeopardizes the security and stability of the whole of Europe,” he told European lawmakers.

The policy shift triggered by Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine was announced on Thursday, three days before neighbouring Sweden is expected to follow suit.

Finland, which shares a 1,300km (810 mile) border and a difficult past with Russia, has gradually stepped up its cooperation with NATO as a partner since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula in 2014.

But until Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine in February, the Nordic country had refrained from joining in order to maintain friendly relations with its eastern neighbour.

“Finland must apply for NATO membership without delay,” Niinisto and Marin said in a joint statement.

“We hope that the national steps still needed to make this decision will be taken rapidly within the next few days.”

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said any accession process would be “smooth and swift” and that Finland “would be warmly welcomed”.

Russia warned on Thursday it would have to take “military-technical” steps in response to Finland joining NATO.

“The expansion of NATO and the approach of the alliance to our borders does not make the world and our continent more stable and secure,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters.

When asked whether Finland’s membership would be a threat, Peskov answered: “definitely”.

“Everything will depend on how this process takes place, how far the military infrastructure will move towards our borders,” he said.

Russia’s foreign ministry said Moscow would be “forced to take reciprocal steps, military-technical and other, to address the resulting threats to its national security”.

It accused NATO of seeking to create “another flank for the military threat to our country”.

“Helsinki should be aware of its responsibility and the consequences of such a move,” the foreign ministry said.

Public support
The view among Finns on NATO has changed rapidly after Russia initiated what it calls a “special operation” in Ukraine.

Finnish public support for joining NATO has risen to record numbers over recent months.

The latest poll by public broadcaster YLE showed 76 percent of Finns in favour and just 12 percent against it, while support for membership used to linger at only about 25 percent for years prior to the all-out war in Ukraine.

While military non-alignment has long satisfied many Finns as a way of staying out of conflicts, Russia’s invasion of sovereign Ukraine has led an increasing number of Finns to view friendly relations with Russia as an empty phrase.

#eudebates the unique initiative aiming to promote debate, dialogue, knowledge, participation and communication among citizens. #Sweden #Finland #NATO