Today, May 15, Finland has made the final decision to apply for NATO membership. Probably, a vote in parliament on the issue of joining the North Atlantic Alliance will take place on May 17.
“Today, the President and the Government Committee on Foreign Policy and Defense decided to apply for NATO membership,” Finnish President Sauli Niinistö said during a press conference today.
Mr. Niinistö clarified that the events in Ukraine prompted him to this decision, against the background of which the importance of “common security” in Europe grew. He also stressed that joining NATO is supported in Finnish society, adding that for Finland the official announcement of joining the alliance is the opening of a “new era”.
The President and Prime Minister of Finland, in a joint statement on May 12, expressed support for the idea of applying for membership in NATO to “strengthen the security” of the country. This event was preceded by statements by Russian officials, including Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova, who warned the Finnish side about Russia’s retaliatory steps in the event the country joins NATO.