Finland regions

Minister of Foreign Affairs: Finland participates in virtual NATO summit | News

Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto said it was important that the option to apply for NATO membership remained available.

Pekka Haavisto, Finnish Foreign Minister, file photo. Image: Anders Wiklund / AFP

Finnish Foreign Minister Pekka Haavisto (Green) confirmed on Thursday that Finland and Sweden are participating in the virtual NATO summit on the situation in Ukraine on Friday.

“It is important that Finland and Sweden are involved in the NATO meeting, because of the situation in the Baltic Sea region, for example,” Haavisto said.

Haavisto also said it was important that the option to apply for NATO membership remained available.

“We consider it important that NATO continues its policy of openness and that we can apply for membership if we wish,” Haavisto said.

Finland and Sweden are currently NATO partners, not members of the military alliance.

Public support for NATO membership in Finland has been generally low, but as the situation between Russia and Ukraine has worsened, there has been growing interest in joining the alliance.

Ukraine is not a member of NATO, but has a standing offer to join the alliance if it meets certain criteria.

Next steps meetings

Haavisto said that the representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and special representative of the Chairman-in-Office of the OSCE in Ukraine, Mikko Kinnunenleft Ukraine via Poland.

“The roads are full and there is a shortage of petrol,” Haavisto said, adding that Finland is ready to help Ukrainians who ask for help.

“Finland will help people through humanitarian aid inside and outside Ukraine. The government has taken care of helping those who remain and those who leave for security reasons” , did he declare.

Several groups have called for special meetings due to the Russian invasion, including an extraordinary meeting of EU foreign ministers in Brussels, Belgium, on Friday.

An extraordinary meeting of the OSCE was convened in Poland on Thursday and in the evening the Prime Minister of Finland Sanna Marin (SDP) is due to attend a European Council meeting on sanctions against Russia.