Finland's Parliament Votes in Favor of Joining NATO

'Finland's membership in NATO will not change our basic thinking that we will always seek peaceful solutions,' Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto says

Reuters
Reuters
A tank is seen during an army exercise at the Niinisalo garrison in Western Finland, earlier this month.
A tank is seen during an army exercise at the Niinisalo garrison in Western Finland, earlier this month.Credit: Heikki Saukkomaa /AP
Reuters
Reuters

Finland's parliament on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved a proposal to apply for membership of the NATO military alliance in a historic policy shift prompted by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

President Sauli Niinisto and the government decided officially on Sunday that Finland would apply for membership but the decision was pending parliament's approval.

Of the 200 lawmakers, 188 voted in favor and eight against the application, Speaker Matti Vanhanen said.

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said the decision was no reason to celebrate because "there is war in Europe".

"Finland's membership in NATO will not change our basic thinking that we will always seek peaceful solutions, and we are a peace-loving nation that will first and foremost seek diplomatic solutions to every conflict," he said during the debate.

Opponents to the application included some lawmakers from the Left Alliance, part of Finland's five-party coalition, among them Markus Mustajarvi who challenged the decision with a counterproposal resulting in it being put to the vote.

"Our border would become the border between the military alliance and Russia. New tensions would not be a risk only during the application process but rather a new and permanent condition of our foreign and security policy," he said.

Early on Tuesday, the foreign affairs committee decided to join the state leadership in proposing to parliament that the Nordic country should apply for membership.

"Having heard a very large number of experts and having received the opinions of 10 (parliamentary) committees, the foreign affairs committee agrees with the government that Finland should apply for membership in NATO. This decision is unanimous," chairman Jussi Halla-aho told reporters.

Click the alert icon to follow topics:

Comments

SUBSCRIBERS JOIN THE CONVERSATION FASTER

Automatic approval of subscriber comments.

Subscribe today and save 40%

Already signed up? LOG IN

ICYMI

Election ad featuring Yair Lapid in Rahat, the largest Arab city in Israel's Negev region.

This Bedouin City Could Decide Who Is Israel's Next Prime Minister

Dr. Claris Harbon in the neighborhood where she grew up in Ashdod.

A Women's Rights Lawyer Felt She Didn't Belong in Israel. So She Moved to Morocco

Mohammed 'Moha' Alshawamreh.

'It Was Real Shock to Move From a Little Muslim Village, to a Big Open World'

From the cover of 'Shmutz.'

'There Are Similarities Between the Hasidic Community and Pornography’

A scene from Netflix's "RRR."

‘RRR’: If Cocaine Were a Movie, It Would Look Like This

Prime Minister Yair Lapid.

Yair Lapid's Journey: From Late-night Host to Israel's Prime Minister