FINLAND and Sweden joining Nato together and without delay remains the primary objective for all political parties in the Finnish Parliament, reveals a survey conducted by YLE.
The Finnish public broadcasting company reported late last week that the majority of political parties are nevertheless prepared to join the military alliance before Sweden, a possibility that has emerged as Turkey continues to air objections about the membership bid of Sweden.
The Centre, Christian Democrats, Finns Party, Movement Now and National Coalition all viewed that Finland should, if necessary, join the alliance before its western neighbour.
The Left Alliance was contrastively the only party to express its categorical opposition to joining ahead of Sweden. The Green League, Social Democrats and Swedish People’s Party declined to comment.
Finland should prepare for the possibility that the Swedish membership process runs into a longer-term obstacle, argued the Finns Party.
“What else could we do?” asked the chairperson of the populist right-wing opposition party, Riikka Purra. “The issue isn’t in our own hands. Finland must be ready to take action also in that eventuality.”
Petteri Orpo, the chairperson of the National Coalition, agrees: “Finland should have the readiness to join Nato alone if Sweden ran into a permanent obstacle.”
The Left Alliance argued that delaying Sweden’s accession is not in the best interests of Finland.
“It’s detrimental for the credibility of the entire Nato that countries that obviously satisfy the membership criteria are kept outside to wait for the resolution of domestic policy tangles in Turkey,” stated Li Andersson, the chairperson of the ruling left-wing party.
The parties provided their answers on 2–16 February.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Pekka Haavisto (Greens) on Saturday said Turkey views that Finland has satisfied the membership criteria but that additional negotiations are necessary with Sweden. Turkey has hinted at the possibility of ratifying the two membership applications at different times also previously.
The Finnish Parliament, meanwhile, has decided to finalise its part of the process before the parliamentary elections in order to make sure the process can move forward as soon as possible after the membership application has been ratified by the two remaining holdouts, Hungary and Turkey.
Whether Finland will join the alliance immediately after the ratification or wait for its western neighbour remains undecided, however.
The parliamentary elections will be held on 2 April.
The survey also revealed that the majority of parliamentary parties would set defence appropriations at two per cent of gross domestic product, as required by Nato. The Finns Party and National Coalition were the only parties to estimate that defence spending should exceed the two-per-cent mark.
“If the security situation exacerbates, it’s possible that we need even more investments in security. But it absolutely must be more than two,” said Orpo.
Aleksi Teivainen – HT