Niinistö for MTV: A personal NATO attitude "quite clear" but it is not yet time to reveal it

The president in an interview with the commercial broadcaster MTV on Wednesday night Sauli Niinistö said that he had reached his own position on ’s possible membership, but did not intend to publish it yet.

"Yes, my position is pretty clear. Once Parliament has made its own analysis, it is time to draw conclusions. This decision is maturing," he said.

In the president’s view, a public statement about his or the five-party governing coalition would restrict others ’freedom to draw their own conclusions.

prime minister Sanna (SDP) has also said he has not yet shared his own vision for NATO. According to the Finnish Constitution, foreign policy is led by the president in co-operation with the .

"The intention now is for the decision-makers in Parliament to be able to look at the matter freely. If I or the government were to state our position in advance, it would restrict this freedom. Through the analysis, I believe that these decision-makers have the ability and desire to achieve the best solution for Finland," Niinistö said.

Last week, the Marin government decided to draw up a revised White Paper on foreign and security policy. According to it, the previous report needs to be updated because the Russian invasion of has changed the situation in Finland.

The purpose of the new report is to weigh the pros and cons of Finland’s possible NATO membership.

However, the government does not intend to make a direct proposal in the report on NATO membership in one direction or another. Instead, on the basis of the report, Parliament is discussing Finland’s possible membership in the .

According to surveys, almost all parliamentary parties and most Finns are now positive about applying for NATO, which is a dramatic change from a few months ago.

Is there more choice in Finland?

In an interview, Niinistö was asked whether Finland has only two realistic options, ie to apply for NATO or to intensify co-operation with the and , as he suggested last weekend.

"Of course, there is an opportunity not to do anything. [However,] I think it raises serious doubts as to whether it will be enough, at least in the long term," Niinistö replied.

On closer cooperation with Sweden and the United States, the President raised the issue of EU defense cooperation and the mutual defense clause in Article 42.7, which refers to the obligation of EU Member States to assist other victims of an armed attack.

Niinistö predicted that this will be much discussed in Europe in the future, but it will take some time before the matter progresses.

"This option also raises questions about whether it would be sufficient. That is the main concern of this option," he said.

"Third [option is] NATO. It is clear that when it comes to adequacy, nothing is more sufficient," the president said.

The Russian authorities have again threatened in recent weeks "countermeasures" if Finland and Sweden applied for NATO membership. According to Niinistö, despite the mysterious wording, Finland must consider what the expression may contain.

Finland and Sweden “do not march in a row”

Niinisto was asked about possible application for NATO membership together with Sweden. The Prime Minister of Sweden said recently that Sweden’s NATO application in the current situation would undermine European security.

According to the president, two countries "don’t walk deadlocked" but he emphasized that Andersson had frequent bilateral discussions with Finnish leaders on the subject.

"This reflects the fact that desire and will to keep each other up to date abound. I believe there is a desire and a will to strive to achieve some kind of common vision. We are not yet out of step in any decisive way," Niinistö pointed out.

Source: The Nordic Page

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