MP talk

Lasse Hautala is a Member of Parliament for the Centre Party from Kauhava. He is also a member of the Agriculture and Forestry Committee and the Administration Committee.The Ukrainian crisis has added fuel to the fire in the debate on Finland's defence policy. Three main themes have become evident in the discussion: the current policy of military non-alliance, Nordic cooperation and Nato membership. All three options have their supporters, who, however, agree that now is not the right time to join a military alliance while a conflict is underway.

Finland's long-term foreign and security policy is based on military non-alliance and independent defence, with national service at its heart. In addition, we need to foster international collaboration and good relationships on a global level, and with our neighbours in particular.

Sweden is along the same lines in their defence policy, with the new Prime Minister Löfven's government announcing that Sweden is not planning to apply for Nato membership. Sweden's government programme states that military non-alignment serves Sweden's best interests.

In Finland, the president is responsible for foreign policy, in cooperation with the government. President Niinistö should be lauded for his defence of the current policy of neutrality, which is also the guiding principle mentioned in our government programme. This programme says that "the government will act to strengthen Finland's international position and ensure the continuity, predictability and consistency of foreign and security policy." Furthermore, the programme clearly states that Finland will not seek to join Nato during this government term.

In light of these policy statements, Prime Minister Stubb's comments on domestic and international platforms have raised eyebrows. In the 29 September issue of the German paper Der Spiegel, he said that Finland should have joined Nato back in 1995. Defence Minister Carl Haglund's statements on Nato have also been strongly in favour of membership. Ministers always – and never more so than when speaking in the international arena - represent the official Finnish policy, which currently does not involve any plans to join Nato. The wisdom of blurring the picture on Finland's foreign and security policy in the current international situation can be questioned.


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