Finland’s parliament has approved the country’s entry into NATO. Photo/REUTERS/Yves Herman
HELSINKI – Parliament Finland on Wednesday voted overwhelmingly in favor of the country joining NATO . However, this country still needs the approval of Hungary and Türkiye to be accepted as a new member of the US-led military alliance.
Both Finland and Sweden abandoned their decades-long policy of military non-alignment and signed up to join the trans-Atlantic defense pact last May. It happened after Russia invaded Ukraine.
However, Sweden has had several diplomatic run-ins with NATO members; Türkiye, which threatened to delay its membership offer.
Members of the Finnish Parliament approved a bill confirming that Finland accepted the terms of the NATO agreement with 184 votes in favor, 7 against, one abstention and seven members of Parliament did not attend.
“The vote is an important step on our NATO path. Homeland security is a common goal,” Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen wrote on Twitter.
Joining NATO requires ratification by its 30 members, and Hungary and Türkiye have so far given their approval for Finland and Sweden’s membership.
Finland’s parliament is pushing for the law to pass first, ahead of April 2 elections, to avoid ratification before a new government is formed.
Markus Mustajarvi of the Left Alliance party — which has been vocal against NATO in the past — has asked members of Parliament to cancel the bill, citing a lack of guarantees that nuclear weapons will not be stationed in Finland.
Hungary began debating Finland’s and Sweden’s NATO application bids on Wednesday, with ratification set for between March 6 and 9, although a delay is expected.
Türkiye announced on Monday that negotiations with Finland and Sweden would resume on March 9, after talks with Sweden were canceled due to disagreements over protests held in Stockholm, including an incident of burning a Koran in front of the Türkiye embassy.
Türkiye also accused Sweden of providing safe havens for what it considered “terrorists”, specifically members of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).
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