Finland takes stand: Country’s bid to join NATO reaches next stage after receiving parliamentary approval

Finnish lawmakers have passed legislation which could allow the Scandinavian country to join NATO defence treaty. Photo credit: Paasikivi / Wikimedia Commons

IN a landmark decision, Finland’s parliament approved legislation allowing the country to join NATO on Wednesday, March 1, marking a significant shift in the country’s foreign policy. The move comes in response to Russia’s aggressive foreign policy, which has prompted Finland and its Nordic neighbour, Sweden, to abandon their longstanding policy of military non-alignment.

In a historic policy shift, both countries submitted simultaneous NATO membership applications last year, pledging to complete the process “hand-in-hand.” However, new entrants must be approved by all 30 existing members, and while both applications are awaiting approval from Hungary and Turkey, Sweden’s application is facing objections from Ankara.

Finnish lawmakers voted overwhelmingly in favour joining NATO, with only seven against and one abstaining. This decision paves the way for Finland to become a member of the transatlantic defensive alliance before Sweden.

Work has also started on a fence along parts of Finland’s 1,340 kilometre border with Russia, aimed at boosting security.

While parliamentary approval does not guarantee automatic NATO membership, the bill must be signed into law by the country’s President within three months.

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