HELSINKI, March 1 (Xinhua) — The Finnish parliament on Wednesday approved legislation allowing the country to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). 184 Members of Parliament voted for, with seven against and one abstention.
Finnish President Sauli Niinisto will sign the legislation “as soon as possible,” he said.
In May 2022, Finland’s Riksdag approved an application to join NATO by a majority of 188 to eight.
So far, 28 NATO member states have ratified Finnish membership, with Turkey and Hungary still pending.
The Finnish parliament wanted to complete the domestic vote ahead of the upcoming parliamentary elections, national radio station Yle said.
Wednesday’s vote was also required in the Riksdag because Riksdag member Markku Mustajarvi, from the Left Alliance, has submitted an initiative against NATO membership.
Mustajarvi said that Finland does not set enough conditions for joining, for example regarding the placement of nuclear weapons in Finland, Finnish daily Helsingin Sanomat reported.
“I believe that the biggest problem with NATO membership is … that Finland accepts NATO’s nuclear policy, while effectively renouncing its non-nuclear status,” said MP Johannes Yrttiaho, who supported Mustajarvi’s concerns.
Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said in the Riksdag that the decision on the NATO law does not change Finland’s position, or the legislation on nuclear weapons.
Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen also added: “We are not trying to bring them to Finland, and no one is trying to force them here either.”
According to Yle, Haavisto has said he believes both Finland and Sweden will be members of the military alliance by the time of the NATO summit in Vilnius next summer.