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    StartNewsFinland wants to join NATO with Sweden but could go solo

    Finland wants to join NATO with Sweden but could go solo

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    Finland could consider joining NATO without Sweden if Turkey continues to block their joint bid to enter the military alliance. 

    During a Tuesday morning television interview, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said that both Nordic nations joining NATO together was “absolutely the number one option,” but that “we have to be ready to evaluate the situation.” 

    “Has something happened that would in the long term prevent Sweden’s application from progressing?” Haavisto asked. 

    The answer to his question would seem to be yes. 

    On Monday, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan declared that Sweden no longer had Turkey’s support for its NATO application after a Danish extremist burned a copy of the Quran in Sweden over the weekend. 

    A few hours after his initial remarks, Haavisto spoke to journalists at a hastily-arranged press conference in parliament and clarified his comments, saying he had been “imprecise” and that Finland still wanted to join NATO together with the Swedes. 

    Despite the backpedalling, the foreign minister’s comments were the first tacit admission that the Finnish government has been looking ahead and considering scenarios that might unfold, raising doubts about becoming NATO members in parallel with Sweden at a time when the alliance is seeking to present a united front in the face of Russia’s war in Ukraine.

    “He’s now said what was always implicit but previously left unsaid, that our goal is always that we want to do this together with Sweden, but nobody has definitively said Finland would never go at it alone — not Sanna Marin, not Pekka Haavisto, not President Niinistö,” said Charly Salonius-Pasternak, a Senior Researcher at the Finnish Institute for International Affairs (FIIA) in Helsinki. 

    “At his press conference, he clarified that as long as the process is moving then there is no need to think about anything else.

    The Kremlin would love it if one NATO member has just gone against the US and the will of the other NATO countries. Geopolitically this would be great for Russia,” said Salonius-Pasternak.

    He reckons Sweden understands that Finland wants to join NATO together, but if the stars do not align, Finnish membership would still improve Nordic and Baltic security. 

    “And Finland could work more for Sweden as a member inside rather than outside.”

    .

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