June 21. 2024. 5:58

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Most Finns would join NATO without waiting for Sweden


Over half the people surveyed by a Finnish media portal would be ready to proceed with Finland’s NATO application without waiting for Sweden, which is struggling to proceed due to Turkey’s reluctance to ratify it.

In a survey commissioned by Ilta-Sanomat that was published on Thursday, 53% of respondents would be ready to proceed with the process and join the military alliance without waiting for Sweden, while 28% said they were unwilling to leave their western neighbour behind and 19% had no definite opinion.

In the left-right axis of the political spectrum, opinions differed strongly from one another. Of the supporters of the populistic and nationalistic Finns Party, 73% believe Finland’s NATO membership cannot depend on Sweden’s timetable. A clear majority of the Christian Democrats and Movement Now voters shared this belief.

However, 58% of the Left Alliance supporters want to see Finland and Sweden submit their NATO application hand-in-hand. From the parties, the Left Alliance was the most critical of the country’s application.

The survey’s results may increase pressure on Finland’s political leadership, especially if the security situation in Europe would drastically deteriorates.

President Sauli Niinistö, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green), and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) have repeatedly stated that Finland and Sweden will join NATO simultaneously.

Recent statements by Turkey have complicated the situation. On his visit to Estonia on Wednesday, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu referred to the NATO applications of Finland and Sweden as a joint effort. He said Turkey would re-process the Finnish application if NATO separated the two.

Commenting on Çavuşoğlu’s words to Helsingin Sanomat, the Director General of the Political Department at the Finnish Foreign Ministry, Piritta Asunmaa said that each country always applies for membership on its own. ”Finland submitted its own application and so did Sweden. There is no such thing as a joint application,” said Asunmaa.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)