Helsinki-Finland, which has one of Europe’s longest borders with Russia, on Tuesday kicks off a parliamentary debate aimed at accelerating the country’s bid to join NATO, increasing the likelihood it will leave neighbour and military partner Sweden behind. Spooked by Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, Finland and Sweden dropped their decades-long policies of military non-alignment and applied to join the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in May last year.
But facing fewer diplomatic hurdles than Stockholm, Helsinki appears set to move forward even before Finland’s April general elections, as public opinion also supports membership in the transatlantic military alliance.
The two countries have the support of all but two of NATO’s 30 members, the holdouts being Hungary and particularly Turkey. Many Finnish MPs have pushed for legislation affirming that Finland accepts the terms of the NATO treaty to be passed before the elections on April 2.