Finland will not abandon Sweden during NATO process

Even if NATO accession could take longer than expected, Vanhanen told YLE during the current affairs programme broadcast Saturday (21 May) that he remained confident in implementing Finland’s accession to NATO. [EPA-EFE/MAURI RATILAINEN]

Finland will proceed towards NATO membership at the same pace as Sweden, parliament Speaker Matti Vanhanen from the Center party told broadcaster YLE in an interview on Saturday.

Finland and Sweden formally applied to join the NATO alliance on 18 May, but Turkey has since blocked the process.

Even if NATO accession could take longer than expected, Vanhanen told YLE during the current affairs programme broadcast Saturday (21 May) that he remained confident in implementing Finland’s accession to NATO.

On standing side-by-side with Sweden in the application process, the parliament speaker said: “We don’t abandon our partners.”

To defuse tensions with Turkey, which is apparently seeking to end an arms embargo and claims both countries, particularly Sweden, are safe havens for Kurdish “terrorists”, Finnish President Sauli Niinistö called his Turkish counterpart, Recep Tayyip Erdogan on Saturday.

“Finland condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Close dialogue continues,” Niinistö tweeted after the call.

Turkey can be assured that no terrorist activity is being planned in Finland, Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said during an interview at the Green Party conference on Sunday (22 May). However, he ruled out extraditing people on a political basis.

”The principles concerning our rule of law must be stated clearly. Political decisions cannot have an effect on the juridical system. This is a principle carved in stone,” Haavisto added.

(Pekka Vänttinen | EURACTIV.com)

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