Finland’s Social Democrats join unanimous support for NATO

Helsinki, May 14 (EFE).- The Social Democratic Party of Finland (SDP) led by the Prime Minister, Sanna Marin, joined this Saturday the unanimous support that exists among the political forces of the Nordic country for joining NATO, during a extraordinary meeting held in Helsinki.

«I believe that NATO membership is the best option to maintain the security of Finland and the stability of this region in the face of changes in the security situation. That is why we must apply as soon as possible to join NATO,» Marin said in a pre-vote speech.

Finally, the SDP supported joining the Atlantic Alliance by 53 votes in favour, 5 against and 2 blank, an outcome that was foreseeable after both Marin and the Finnish president, Sauli Niinistö, expressed on Thursday their wish that Finland submits its application for entry «without delay».

«We did not want to change the foundations of our security order. We did not want a war in Europe. We are for peace, agreements and cooperation. We care about the security of Finland and those who live here. With our joint decision to today, we will secure it now and in the future,» Marin said.

The SDP and the Left Alliance, traditionally the most critical of NATO, were until now the only two political forces with parliamentary representation that had not yet established their official position regarding the Alliance.

UNANIMOUS POLITICAL SUPPORT

With the yes of the Social Democrats, all the parties present in the Eduskunta (Parliament) have already shown themselves in favor of entry, with the exception of the Left Alliance, which has not yet made a statement.

Some groups are staunch supporters of joining NATO, such as the conservative Kokoomus and the Swedish People’s Party (SFP), while others, including the ruling Center Party – usually critical of the Atlantic Alliance – support it only if It is decided by the president and the government.

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The Left Alliance, one of the five partners in the government coalition, remains reluctant to openly support membership and has delayed its decision until mid-June, although by then Finland will most likely have formalized its application.

The leadership of the party, led by the young Minister of Education, Li Andersson, has given its deputies freedom to vote, but has promised that all its ministers – including Andersson herself – will vote in favor of entry.

RUSSIA CAUSES A RADICAL TURN

The five center-left parties that make up the Executive agreed three years ago to reflect the continuity of the traditional non-alignment policy in the government program, where it is specified that Finland will not ask to join NATO during this legislature.

However, the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the constant threats from the Kremlin to prevent NATO’s expansion to the east caused a radical shift in both Finnish public opinion and in the Executive and the Head of State.

Now the entry of the country into the Alliance has the approval of President Niinistö, Prime Minister Marin, the other members of the Government and three out of four Finns, according to the most recent polls.

This change in attitude has generated great concern in Russia, with which Finland shares 1,340 kilometers of border, since its entry would place NATO at the gates of the Eurasian giant.

In addition to doubling the border line between Russia and NATO, Finland’s entry would allow the Alliance to come within just 200 kilometers of the country’s second largest city, Saint Petersburg.

RUSSIAN FEAR OF NATO AND THREATS

The rapid progress of Finland towards its probable entry into NATO has had the consequence that the government of Russian President Vladimir Putin has recently intensified the threats against the Nordic country to prevent it from committing what it considers «a serious mistake».

«Finland’s possible decision to join NATO could provoke a violent reaction from Russia. My message is that Finland’s entry into NATO is not an act against anyone, but an act for the security of Finland and the Finns,» Marin stressed.

Until now, the Kremlin’s threats had been somewhat vague – they alluded to «technical-military» measures – but this Saturday they materialized with the cutoff of Russia’s electricity supply to Finland.

The Russian energy company Inter RAO, supplier of 10% of the electricity consumed by Finland, stopped sending energy alleging «problems receiving payments for the electricity sold», as a result of European sanctions against the Russian banking sector.

However, Finnish analysts have no doubt that this is a measure of pressure from the Kremlin, probably the first of a long series if, as everything seems to indicate, Finland requests its entry into NATO in the coming days.

Juanjo Galan

(c) EFE Agency