Finland to take time to build consensus on security policy

Finland’s political leadership has opted for a cooling-off period in an attempt to find the best way to shape their security policy.

By Pekka Vänttinen
Mar 15, 2022

The Russian attack on Ukraine shook the foundations of Finland’s security policy. Questions now on the table involve strong national defence, NATO partnership and close cooperation with Sweden. Additionally, some are mulling whether the country should abandon its non-alignment and apply for a full NATO membership.

After three weeks of ministerial and presidential meetings in Washington and between Nordic partners, the president and government are following a step by step choreography. The process must be constitutionally water-proof and political parties must be given time to define their opinions. The aim is to create a consensus as wide as possible in the parliament.

Civil servants are putting together a memorandum on alternative security policy choices available for Finland, which will be presented to parliament. In case a clear majority favours a NATO application, the Ministerial Committee on Foreign and Security Policy will deliver a new report and motion for the parliament to discuss and vote on. The president would make the final decision on a NATO application.

The process is expected to be completed this spring. Meanwhile, pressure to apply for NATO membership is mounting from in and outside the country.

Interviewed by the Georgian Service of Radio Free Europe on 12 March, the former NATO Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said “it would be in the self-interest of Finland and Sweden to join NATO right now. Because now they have a window of opportunity. Putin is engaged [somewhere else], so that window might soon close again”.

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A poll by YLE released on Monday (14 March) shows that 62% of Finns would support joining NATO, a nine percentage point increase since the end of February.

Published at www.euractiv.com

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