Speech by Minister Soini at the Danish Foreign Policy Society, formin.finland.fi

…As to Finland’s application for membership of NATO, the situation is as follows: we are not applying for membership now, but we keep the possibility open. In our deliberations the development of the security situation in Europe is the essential factor. Although we are not applying for NATO membership now, keeping that door open serves Finland’s security.

With the many challenges in our external environment it is natural that Finland and Sweden seek stronger alignment of their policies in foreign and security policy.

Our basic interests and values are shared. We want to translate this common ground into decisive and concrete joint action in foreign and security policy. Our bilateral defence cooperation is intensifying, in particular, with Sweden…

Dealing with Russia in economic and political terms has always been both natural and necessary for us.  Dialogue with Russians is particularly important now. Russia is part of Europe and will remain so.  As an EU member state, Finland was part of the decisions concerning sanctions against Russia in the wake of the events in Crimea and Ukraine.  We continue to be committed to these EU decisions.  But we have a pragmatic approach to relations with Russia: in good and bad times alike, we must be able to maintain cooperation in areas where we share interests, and dialogue on issues that divide us. Läs talet