Finland moves closer to NATO after parliamentary vote

A more than clear result

Finland moves closer to NATO after parliamentary vote

A more than clear result. The Finnish Parliament approved in advance, Wednesday, March 1, the entry of the Nordic country into NATO, for which the ratifications by Hungary and Turkey are still essential. Finnish MPs voted to approve a law allowing Finland to join the Western military alliance, by 184 votes in favor and 7 against. An overwhelming majority.

As a direct consequence of Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Finland's entry under the NATO umbrella will put an end to half a century of neutrality forced by Moscow and then three decades of military non-alignment.

With elections in sight on April 2 for the government of outgoing Prime Minister Sanna Marin, Helsinki wanted to avoid any political vacuum so that it could jump on the NATO bandwagon once Ankara and Budapest agreed. Including, if necessary, without waiting for neighboring Sweden, also a candidate since last year but currently facing a Turkish blockage.

Unlike that of Sweden, Finland's entry is viewed favorably by Ankara. As in a preliminary vote last May, which resulted in a plebiscite of 188 votes out of 200, the outcome of the vote in the Finnish Parliament was in no doubt. The support of the parties was almost unanimous, including those who were still unfavorable to NATO before the invasion of Ukraine.

The adoption of the Finnish law does not mean that Helsinki will automatically enter after the Hungarian and Turkish ratifications. But it can then go very quickly, after ratification by pro-NATO President Sauli Niinistö and the sending of the ratification documents to Washington.