Finnish Parliament approves NATO membership in advance

Finnish Parliament approves NATO

The Parliament of Finland (Eduskunta) approved this Wednesday (03.01.2023) by a large majority the entry of the Nordic country into NATO, a historic decision that puts an end to decades of military neutrality with which Finland seeks to strengthen its security against aggressiveness from neighboring Russia. In order to formalize the entry into the military alliance, the vote of the parliaments of Hungary and Turkey is still missing.

The government proposal was approved by 184 parliamentarians, with 7 rejections, and had the majority support of all the large parliamentary groups. Only a handful of far-left and far-right deputies opposed it, citing, among other issues, the lack of guarantees that nuclear weapons would not be installed on Finnish territory.

After this vote, only the Turkish and Hungarian consent remains, in addition to the ratification of the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, who has three months to do so. Due to the doubts of Hungary and the reluctance of Ankara, the Finnish Executive brought forward the vote to buy time (without waiting for the approval of both countries) and close the matter before the legislative elections on April 2.

Invasion breaks neutrality

Finland had until now expressed its willingness to join NATO together with Sweden. But because Turkey accuses Sweden of harboring terrorists, referring to Kurdish leaders living in the Nordic country, the desire to enter the military alliance together does not seem viable for now. Ankara now admits that Finland has made enough progress to give the green light for NATO membership, but maintains a veto on Sweden.

The Turkish government suspended trilateral negotiations five weeks ago after Stockholm allowed pro-Kurdish demonstrations to be held and the burning of a copy of the Koran on its territory. Following the Russian invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden decided to turn the page on their policy of military non-alignment in force since the 1990s, heir to decades of neutrality, and applied to NATO in May 2022.