Finland should not wait for Sweden on NATO, says foreign committee chair,

Finland should not tie itself to Sweden while both countries wait for their NATO application process to proceed, the chair of the parliament’s foreign affairs committee, Jussi Halla-aho, said on Tuesday.

The comment by Halla-aho, a former chair of the nationalistic Finns Party and currently the chair of the foreign affairs committee, is the first break made by a prominent politician with the so-far unanimous alignment that the neighbouring countries should enter NATO at the same pace.

Finnish President Sauli Niinistö and Prime Minister Sanna Marin (SDP) have vowed to stick with the hand-in-hand principle.

Justifying his opinion, Halla-aho said that Finland and Sweden’s geopolitical and strategic situations continue to differ as, for example, Sweden does not have 1,300 kilometres of common border with Russia. According to him, Finland’s NATO membership decision must be based on its own security needs.

“This is easily forgotten when it is emphasised that connecting us is some sort of common destiny. Finland should not attach its arrangement to what Sweden is doing – even if it remains everyone’s wish that the countries would proceed towards the same direction and at the same pace,” Halla-aho told Finnish broadcaster YLE. Läs artikel