Finland may vote in favor of joining NATO via simple parliamentary majority

The Suomen eduskunta/Finlands riksdag.
The Suomen eduskunta/Finlands riksdag. Source: Riigikogu

Finland's parliament, the Eduskunta , may be able to vote on the country joining NATO via a simple majority, ahead of any decision from the two holdout nations, Hungary and Turkey, public broadcaster Yle reports.

The parliament's Constitutional Law Committee Chair  Johanna Ojala-Niemelä said Thursday that: "We felt that this transfer of powers to Nato is not significant enough to require a two-thirds majority," Yle reports on its English-language page.

Yle reports speculation on whether Estonia's northern neighbor can vote on the issue ahead of the full ratification by all 30 NATO member states, which, based on Thursday's announcement, is now viable, exacerbated by member states Hungary and Turkey dragging their heels on Finnish and Swedish membership, as hinted by Eduskunta speaker Matti Vanhanen and also its foreign affairs committee chair Jussi Halla-aho, as well as by Ojala-Niemelä.

The constitutional committee's announcement did not give a timescale beyond that, on when the vote might take place, though stressed that Finland would continue to retain legislative, judicial and budget-related powers, even after joining the alliance, Yle reports, in addition to NATO decisions being made based on consensus.

A 1994 vote on EU membership at the Eduskunta required a two-thirds majority to pass; Finland joined the union the following year.

Finland and Sweden both applied to join NATO last summer, following the changed security situation in Europe in the wake of Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Estonia, and 27 other member states, have ratified both countries' membership, leaving only Hungary and Turkey still to do so.

Estonia joined NATO, and the EU, in 2004. Finland joining would shift the northernmost point of NATO's eastern border with Russia, from Narva, to just east of Lake Inärijärvi, around a thousand kilometers to the north, while the strategically valuable Swedish Baltic Sea island of Gotland would also then be NATO territory. The two countries have in practice been taking part for many years in NATO-related exercises, despite their long-standing traditions of neutrality.


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Editor: Andrew Whyte

Source: Yle

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