Finnish parliament given time to develop its NATO stance

Interviewed by MTV3 channel on Wednesday 23 March, Niinistö said that his stance on NATO is “quite clear”, but that he intends to give the parliament a free playing field and not influence conclusions others might reach. [Shutterstock/Roman_studio]

President Sauli Niinistö has made up his mind on Finland’s possible NATO membership but he says he will not reveal his position before parliament has had enough time to process the issue.

Interviewed by MTV3 channel on Wednesday 23 March, Niinistö said that his stance on NATO is “quite clear”, but that he intends to give the parliament a free playing field and not influence conclusions others might reach. Making his own view public could “restrict that freedom”, said the president.

The government is preparing a report on foreign and security policy, which is expected to be released and discussed by lawmakers in April. The Prime Minister Sanna Marin has also not disclosed her position on NATO membership.

The idea of a referendum on NATO membership appears to have been ditched.

Under the Finnish constitution, decisions on foreign policy, for example, joining or resigning from international organisations, are made by the president in cooperation with the government.

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