Deputies of the European Union countries gave the green light to NATO membership – Reuters
On Wednesday, the Finnish parliament voted in favor of NATO membership. The vote came before Hungary and Turkey had a chance to ratify the Nordic countries’ membership of the US-led military bloc.
In the 200-seat parliament, 184 deputies supported the draft law, while only seven voted against it and one abstained. Another seven people were absent during the voting.
Some of the bill’s opponents, including Left Alliance MPs Markus Mustajärvi and Johannes Irtijaho, expressed concern that Finland’s NATO membership did not include any conditions on its ability to deploy nuclear weapons on its territory.
“I believe the biggest problem with NATO membership… is that Finland accepts NATO’s policy on nuclear weapons and at the same time renounces its non-nuclear status,” he added. Irtiyaho said during Tuesday’s debate.
Finland’s foreign and defense ministers then assured MEPs that joining NATO would not change Helsinki’s stance on nuclear weapons. “I said we will not try to bring them to Finland and nobody will force them here either.” This was announced by Finnish Defense Minister Antti Kaikkonen.
Finnish parliament speaker Matti Vanhanen welcomed the results of the vote, calling it a vote. “Historical Decision” Comparable to Finland’s EU membership in the 1990s. The head of the parliament also said that membership in NATO will send Finland once again “On the map of Europe”.
The vote took place when NATO itself had not yet accepted Finland. While the bloc’s 28 members have officially ratified the candidacy of the Scandinavian country and neighboring Sweden, Hungary and Turkey have yet to ratify it.
Parliament justified the move by saying it wanted to complete part of the process before elections scheduled for early April. Now, the law must be signed by the president before it can take effect.
Budapest signaled last week that lawmakers may need more time to vote on proposals by Sweden and Finland to join the Western military bloc. However, on Wednesday, MPs began the process of ratifying the nominations of the Nordic countries after the Hungarian president called for it to be speeded up.
Ankara has previously expressed its unwillingness to allow both countries to join NATO, insisting that Ankara supports Kurdish groups it considers terrorist. Turkey, Sweden and Finland signed a deal last June to address those concerns and pave the way for approval of NATO expansion.
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