May 14, 2022
President Sauli Niinistö called Russian President Vladimir Putin on Saturday, informing him that Finland will apply for Nato membership within the next few days.
According to the president’s office, Niinistö told his Russian counterpart “how fundamentally the Russian demands in late 2021 aiming at preventing countries from joining Nato and Russia’s massive invasion of Ukraine in February 2022 have altered the security environment of Finland”.
The day before, Niinistö spoke with his US counterpart Joe Biden in a joint conversation with Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson.
Interviewed by Yle on Saturday morning, Niinistö said he does not believe that Turkey will ultimately try to block Finland’s Nato membership.
President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that it was “impossible” for Turkey to take a positive view of Finland’s and Sweden’s applications for membership. He said that allowing the Nordic countries to join would be “a mistake”, suggesting that they support Kurdish separatists.
Speaking on the Yle current affairs programme Ykkösaamu, Niinistö said that Turkey’s message to Finland has been quite different in the past.
“We should take this calmly. So far, Turkey’s message to us has been quite the opposite,” he said. “I wouldn’t go so far as to speculate that they will ultimately try to throw a spanner in the works.”
The issue may be discussed when Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) meets with Nato foreign ministers in Berlin on Saturday. Finland and Sweden were invited to join the informal meeting of ministers, including US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
May 14, 2022
The largest parliamentary group’s party council met for several hours on Saturday afternoon in Helsinki. The 60-member council gave the green light to a Nato bid by a vote of 53–5 with two abstentions.
The vote was expected after a unanimous ‘yes’ vote by the party board and Marin’s own support for a Nato application.
Following the decision of the SDP party council, President Sauli Niinistö and the government’s Committee on Foreign and Security Policy are to discuss Finland’s application for Nato membership on Sunday. Parliament will convene to consider the Nato application on Monday.
In her address to the party council on Saturday, Marin said that “Finland and Sweden have been Nato’s closest partners for years. We are technically very compatible and train regularly with Nato countries. However, we are not covered by Nato security guarantees.”
In an interview with the daily Helsingin Sanomat published on Saturday, Marin said she expects Finland and Sweden to apply for Nato membership together next week.
Swedish Prime Minister Magdalena Andersson’s Social Democratic Party is likewise expected to approve that country’s Nato application on Sunday.
Marin said that she has personally backed membership since 2020, although she only formally announced her stance in a joint statement with President Sauli Niinistö on Thursday.