For the first time ever, “the clear majority from the Finnish population is supporting the NATO membership,” Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto told reporters as he arrived in the NATO headquarters on Wednesday.
The Finnish parliament is expected to debate on the matter in the coming weeks, as the Russian invasion in Ukraine continues.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg invited Haavisto and his Swedish counterpart Ann Linde for a trilateral meeting, after which they will join a roundtable meeting with all NATO members.
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Stoltenberg on Tuesday stressed that a clear majority of NATO allies would welcome Finland and Sweden into the alliance if they decided to join but any such move is up to the two nations.
“It’s for them to decide of course but if they apply, I expect that 30 allies will welcome them,” Stoltenberg told a news conference.
He said NATO would likely find ways “to address the concerns they may have about this interim period between having applied and until the last ratification (by allies) has taken place”, referring to possible Russian retaliation before the pair were fully under NATO protection.