Finnish parliament to vote on bill to pave way for NATO membership


Finnish parliament is scheduled to vote on a bill on Wednesday that will pave way for the country to join NATO.

This came up as Helsinki responds to Europe’s altered security architecture following Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.

The vote is due to be held at 1 pm (1200 GMT), a parliamentary spokesman told dpa. It is expected to be approved by a large majority.

Both Finland and Sweden are preparing to join the Western defense alliance and applied in May 2022, in a step that ends decades of neutrality.

For Finland, this is partly due to its shared 1,340-kilometre border with Russia.

However, all of NATO’s 30 members must unanimously agree on newcomers and while 28 have already done so, Turkey and Hungary have yet to ratify their accession.

Hungary has no objections to the step, and its parliament is set to debate the issue on Wednesday, with voting due to take place next week.

However, Turkey has long blocked the two Nordic aspirants’ applications, citing security concerns about Sweden.

Ankara said Stockholm sympathizes with and harbors what Turkey views as Kurdish terrorists.

While Finland and Sweden agreed to join the defense alliance together and repeatedly underline this intention, the tough stance by Ankara has prompted speculation that Finland could join NATO first.

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on Tuesday reiterated his call for Turkey and Hungary to let Finland and Sweden join the Western military alliance.


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