Finland gets Closer to NATO with Parliament Supporting Military Alignment

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Finland gets Closer to NATO with Parliament Supporting Military Alignment
The first parliamentary debate on the candidacy revealed a majority in favour and a minority against.

A Finnish public radio reported that it was practically decided that a request to join NATO would go through in May, despite recent threats from Russia.

Prime Minister Sanna Marin’s Social Democrats stopped short of mentioning NATO in their addresses but voiced support for an idea of a military alliance. “It is evident that Russia’s actions have brought Finland several steps closer to the necessary military alignment,” Social Democrat group leader Antti Lindtman told fellow parliament members.

Finland is a close partner with NATO but has maintained a militarily non-aligned status. However, its defence and security needed strengthening, and a decision on whether to apply for NATO membership could be taken within weeks, Marin has said.

The government has also indicated public support for joining the alliance could be gauged through a parliamentary vote instead of a referendum, though no date for such a vote has been set yet.

Finland gets Closer to NATO with Parliament Supporting Military Alignment

The Social Democrats' largest ally in Finland's five-party coalition government, the Centre Party, said it was ready to support a NATO decision.

Eight parliamentary group leaders out of 10 expressed support for joining NATO or aligning itself militarily, while Left Alliance leader Jussi Saramo said this should not be a “rubber stamp” decision and called for a broader discussion.

Finland gets Closer to NATO with Parliament Supporting Military Alignment

A nationalist lawmaker representing a group with just one parliamentary seat was the only one to voice direct opposition to Finland’s potential NATO membership bid. Only 13 were against it. Among those hesitant, the local media noticed that only a few guarantees were missing, which could be resolved in the coming days. The debate will now continue in the speciality, and the candidacy will need about two-thirds of the 200 Finnish deputies in favour. The decision will be made in May.

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