Prime Minister Sanna Marin and President Sauli Niinistö held a press conference in the Presidential Palace in Helsinki on Sunday, 15 May 2022 to comment on what they both described was a historic decision to pursue membership in Nato. (Heikki Saukkomaa – Lehtikuva)


THE GOVERNMENT of Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) on Sunday unveiled a four-page report in which it proposes that Finland apply for membership in Nato. The much-anticipated report was finalised earlier yesterday in a joint meeting of the president and the ministerial committee on foreign and security policy.

The report is to be considered by the Finnish Parliament on Monday, 16 May.

“If the Parliament concurs with the government’s stance, we can propose to the president of the republic that the [membership] application be submitted,” Marin stated at a press conference in the Presidential Palace on Sunday.

President Sauli Niinistö described the decision to officially pursue membership in the defence alliance as historic, an assessment that was corroborated by the representation of foreign media at the press conference.

“A new era is opening,” said Niinistö. “The result will be a protected Finland that is part of a stable and responsible Nordic region. We will receive protection, and we'll also share it with others.”

Finland applying for Nato membership, he reiterated, is not a move against anyone. “It’s good to keep in mind that security isn’t a zero-sum game. When Finland’s security increases, it doesn’t take anything away from anyone else – it’ll improve comprehensive security.”

Marin pointed to the rapid and momentous shift that has occurred following the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“I personally think that we can’t trust any more that there’ll be a peaceful future next to Russia,” she commented. “We have had wars with Russia. And we don’t want that kind of a future for ourselves and our children.”

She also viewed that the historic decision will change something but not everything: Finland, for example, will continue to maintain strong national defence capabilities and be responsible for its own defence.

“Together with Sweden’s decisions, our decisions will influence and affect the whole Nordic and Baltic region, the whole region of the north, and I think it’ll strengthen the capabilities of all countries to defend and strengthen Nato itself in many ways because we have very strong defence capabilities and we are willing to strengthen not only our own but the common security of all Nato members.”

Aleksi Teivainen – HT