Finland's parliament overwhelmingly votes to join NATO


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Finland’s parliament voted almost unanimously in favor of joining NATO, triggering the formal process to apply to the alliance. 

The Finnish parliament supported the motion with 188 out of a possible 200 votes, with the chairman not voting. The result allows for Finland to now submit its application to NATO, which it expects to do on May 18. 

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Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said the decision was no reason to celebrate because “there is war in Europe.” 

“Finland’s membership in NATO will not change our basic thinking that we will always seek peaceful solutions and we are a peace-loving nation that will first and foremost seek diplomatic solutions to every conflict,” he said during the debate, according to Reuters.

The foreign affairs committee pushed to join NATO after listening to statements from “a very large number of experts” and opinions from 10 parliamentary committees. 

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Finland and Sweden have long-abstained from trying to join the alliance, viewing their neutrality between NATO and Russia as a necessary position to maintain stability in the region. Their position changed following the invasion of Ukraine, saying that the “security environment has changed” as a result of Russia’s actions.  

Finland will now face the difficult task of convincing Turkey to support its bid after President Tayyip Recep Erdogan said he would block Finland and Sweden’s admission. Any applicant requires approval from all 30 native members of NATO. 

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Russia has continually pushed back on the pair of applications, claiming that Sweden and Finland’s membership will “inflict considerable damage to the security of Northern Europe and Europe as a whole.” 

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