Finnish MPs’ support for Finland’s accession to NATO is growing, and the willingness to express their opinion on the matter is increasing, according to Yle’s recent MP poll.
A total of 112 MPs – more than half from the Chamber – responded to Yle’s latest survey on Finland’s potential NATO membership, which showed that legislators have become more widespread in expressing their views on the matter.
The majority of respondents, 71, said they supported Finland’s application to join the military alliance, while six MPs opposed NATO membership.
At the same time, the 35 deputies who reserved a response did not want to reveal their views on the membership application.
Of the parliamentary groups, the Coalition Party supported NATO the most. The party has long pushed for Finland to join the union, as has the Swedish People’s Party.
Representative of the NCP Pihla Keto-Huovinen He told Yle that he had changed his mind about membership and now supports it, adding that his opinion had been influenced in particular by experts in national defense and security.
"My previous feelings about that [military] non-alignment should continue to be the cornerstone of our security policy, which was transformed in favor of NATO’s accession to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and the shaking of the whole basic policy," Keto-Huovinen explained.
Anders AdlercreutzThe chairman of the SPP’s parliamentary group stated that Finland is already training with NATO countries and that the Finnish Defense Forces (FDF) can be considered fully NATO-compatible.
"We are seen as part of the West, but we do not have the protection offered by the fifth article. Membership would be a big change psychologically, but on a small practical level. It would increase security and strengthen Nordic co-operation, especially if Sweden joined" Adlercreutz said.
Support is growing among the Greens, Basic Finns and parliamentarians in the city center
The support of the Greens, the Center Party and Finnish legislators for NATO in particular has increased compared to a similar survey conducted by Yle less than a month ago.
However, only one SDP MP has so far revealed his position. MP Suna Kymäläinen said it had begun to support Finland’s accession to NATO in 2015, when Russia annexed Crimea.
"However, it is important that no hasty decisions are taken now," Kymäläinen said and added that the country’s decisions on joining NATO will be left to the government, members of parliament and the president.
No other SDP MP who responded to the survey shared his views on the NATO decision, as the party has decided to wait for the government to issue a security report before making its position public.
About half of the Greens surveyed said they were in favor of NATO membership. MP Tiina Elo He said earlier that he considered Finland’s own defense capability and dependence on the EU’s defense to be sufficient protection.
"The war in Ukraine has shown that when you are in tight spaces, the crucial difference is whether you are in NATO or not. In this situation, I see that membership would be the safest option for Finland," Elo said.
Almost half of the Basic Finns said they were in favor of NATO membership, which is seven more than in last month’s poll.
Member of Parliament and Second Vice-President of Basic Finns Juho Eerola, has, however, set three conditions for membership. One of them requires that Sweden apply to NATO at the same time as Finland and receive the same guarantees.
Of the 112 MPs who responded, only six said they opposed Finland’s accession to NATO. Of these, four were from the Left Alliance, one was from Basic Finland and the sixth was from Finland Ano Turtiainenleader of the one-member Power Belongs to People party.
Member of the Left Alliance Katja Hänninen opposes joining the military alliance, but stressed the importance of an open debate on foreign and security policy.
At the same time, 20 MPs who participated in the previous poll did not respond to the latest poll.
Assuming those who supported NATO membership a month ago but did not take part in the new poll, the number of MPs in favor of accession would rise from 71 to 82.
In addition, for example, two significant members of Basic Finns, the party’s chairman Riikka Purra and Jussi Halla-aho did not participate in the latest poll, but have both publicly expressed support for joining NATO.
The survey was conducted electronically and sent to MPs by e-mail, and responses were received on March 23-31, 2022.
Source: The Nordic Page