The President of Finland, Sauli Niinistö, and the Prime Minister, the Social Democrat Sanna Marin, gave their support this Thursday for the entry of the Nordic country into NATO, in a historic decision that breaks with more than eight decades of non-alignment.

Finland, which shares a 1,300 km border and a difficult past with Russia, has gradually intensified its cooperation with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization as a partner since Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.

But until Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Nordic country had refrained from joining in order to maintain friendly relations with its eastern neighbor.

“Finland must apply to join NATO without delay. We hope that the steps at the national level still necessary to make this decision will be taken quickly in the coming days,” the two leaders said in a joint statement.

According to Niinistö and Marin, NATO membership would strengthen Finland’s security and, in turn, the Nordic country would make the military alliance stronger.

Both leaders had kept their position secret until now so as not to influence the public debate on NATO, reactivated after the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

“We have needed time for Parliament and the whole of society to establish their positions on the matter. Also to establish close international contacts with NATO and its member countries, as well as with Sweden. We wanted to give the discussion the space it required,” they pointed out. .

This decisive step gives a strong impetus to the accession process in Finland, since security and defense policy is a competence shared by the President and the Executive.

Now all that remains is for the rest of the coalition government and the Eduskunta (Parliament) to give their official support to formalize the application for admission, something that could happen next Sunday, given the broad consensus that exists between the political parties

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